Scarborough resident will compete at Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Scotland

Champion epee fencer Peter Harbin. Picture: Marcus Whisson d427976
Champion epee fencer Peter Harbin. Picture: Marcus Whisson d427976

PETER Harbin says age has not dampened his competitive spirit.

The 81-year-old will represent Australia at next month’s Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Scotland.

Mr Harbin said although the sport was physically taxing, he still possessed an inner drive to win.

‘It does require good reflexes but also you need to want to win, I’ve got this urge to win all the time.

‘You’re not there to sort of trail along, I fence to win,’ Mr Harbin said.

‘It’s very taxing because your body is falling apart and you’re trying to improve your style, but you know I knock off people regularly in their 20s.’

Mr Harbin travelled to Australia from England in the 50s on a family holiday and quickly found he did not want to return.

‘We came out to Australia for a holiday for six months and I got a job as a Jackaroo; I thought ‘I don’t want to go back to pharmacy’, so I did that for two years in Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, and we started a small fencing club in Wagga,’ he said.

The Scarborough resident, who began fencing at 15 and now runs the York Motor Museum, said he continues to practise most days.

Mr Harbin said his favoured category of epee required speed and precision, meaning he practised most days.

‘If you go to hit and you miss, someone will hit you, that’s why I have a tennis ball hanging in the garden on a piece of string that I practise on,’ he said.

Mr Harbin has won 18 championships, including one Australian championship.