28 Aug 2015

Competitive fencer hangs up tools after 40 years

4:16 pm on 28 August 2015

A Pukekohe man who has been fencing competitively for the last 40 years has stretched his last wire after deciding to retire from the sport.

Nick Liefting, 60, has won the Golden Pliers Competition twice and also won the International Fencing Competition held in Germany in 2008.

His last competition was at this year's Fielddays in June and, although he did not place, he said he was the first 60-year-old in the singles' final.

Mr Liefting said competitive fencing was different to fencing on a job.

"You get some very good farm fencers out there that will never do well in a competition. There are a lot of factors that come into it.

"The big thing is stage fright - you're putting your work out there and there's a lot of crowds as well.

"And also the judges are looking for mistakes; they're not looking for what you've done well, like a farmer might commend you on how nice that fence looks."

Mr Liefting said, over the years, he has often asked himself why he stayed in the sport.

"Comradeship is a big thing, although we compete against each other, we are all good friends.

"To me it's always been a challenge [to] qualify. In the single series, there are 25 people in the qualifying [round] and eight go into the final, so it's always a challenge to qualify and my challenge has always been to finish first."