Dreams of fencing gaining official recognition may soon become a reality, if plans to form an association are given the green light.

A group of senior UAE nationals 'are close to forming an association," disclosed Ebrahim Belselah, president of the Dubai Fencing Club (DFC).

"I think there is substantial participation from UAE nationals in fencing. We have a list of members who have a passion for this sport," noted Belselah during the inaugural DFC Open Fencing Championships at the Mina A'Salam Hotel on Friday.

"So we feel this is the right time to form an association."

Belselah was impressed with the self-discipline fencing involves. "We need discipline, especially among our youth," he said. "This is such a fine and graceful sport. It has both physical and mental aspects. Fencing also has history and culture to go with it."

Though he is only a fan at this moment, Belselah said he plans to try his hand at fencing.

Fencing was first introduced in Abu Dhabi and Dubai five years ago. The Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Heritage Society (EHC) was the first to conduct fencing and they were followed by the Dubai International Fencing Club and the Dubai Fencing Club at the Metropolitan Hotel.

The EHC facility has its emphasis on training local youth in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain under coach Mohammad Sa'ad, who commented: "It's an ongoing development and we need to continue what we have started. We have some very promising UAE youngsters at the moment. We have a plan to participate in international competitions and hope these youngsters can achieve some success in the future."

With plans of having the association established by early next month, the UAE's first international competition will take place later this year in Qatar.

Backing up these efforts are a group of expatriates who fence regularly at the two clubs in Dubai.

"Fencing has a calming effect on me. It quietens any person who is nervous," noted former French champion Pierre Marcout, who was making a comeback after a gap of 25 years.

"It's good to see so much of local interest. It's now time to build on this and ensure it's growth here in the UAE."