LAUSANNE, Switz., May 8, 2022—The FIE is saddened to learn of the passing of Mark Rance (NZL), on May 3, 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was the current president of the FIE Veterans Council until his passing and had been a member since 2016. Mr. Rance was elected to the Oceania Fencing Confederation board in 2020 and then elected vice president by the board, serving from 2020 until now. He was president of Fencing New Zealand from 2017 until October, 2021.
In 2016, Mr. Rance was the chair of the organising committee for the Christchurch Commonwealth Veterans Fencing Championships, named as a finalist in the Canterbury Sports Awards. He also took a silver medal as part of the men’s epee team at the same event.
“Mark combined his love of fencing and sound business skills when working with the Veterans Council to get the best outcomes for veteran fencing worldwide”, said Rita Comes (USA), on behalf of the FIE Veterans Council. “His presence will be missed.”
Originally from England, and born on February 7, 1963, Mr. Rance was a competitive swimmer before discovering fencing at the age of 10. He fenced at the Reading Club and then at the London Thames Fencing Club for several years, achieving strong results in both regional and national events, and later participated in European tournaments and finished in the top 12 epeeists in the 1983 Junior World Championship. In the 1980s, he was considered for being a member of the British Olympic team, although several issues and an injury prevented him from attaining that goal.
Mr. Rance moved to New Zealand in the 1990s, where he lived in the South Island town of Ashburton. After a hiatus from fencing, in 2008 his passion for the sport reignited after attending an epee tournament in Christchurch; he shortly thereafter made the podium at the New Zealand Men’s National Championships. From there, he went on to represent New Zealand in both senior and veteran events globally, and in 2010 won a bronze medal in veteran individual men’s epee and silver in veteran men’s team epee at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
“Mark was always a man who was willing to help, particularly with the young people of our sport who he coached and mentored for several years”, stated David Elder, Fencing New Zealand president. “Many young fencers will sorely miss his advice and expertise.”
According to Mr. Elder, for a significant period Mr. Rance was the highest-ranked men’s veteran epeeist in Australasia (Australia and New Zealand).
The FIE extends its sincere condolences to Mark Rance’s family and friends, Fencing New Zealand and the Oceania Fencing Confederation. We express our deepest sympathy to them during this difficult time.