French Fencing Masters Bring Sword Fighting Back To Purana Qila

Last weekend, as visitors entered the Purana Qila complex, they were welcomed by an unusual sound, that of clashing swords. If - for a moment - they assumed the ghosts of Sher Shah Suri and Humayun had returned to resume their battle, they could be excused for thinking so. However, the reality was far less fantastical. Two modern French Olympic fencing masters - Olivier Lambert and Jean-Bernard Duchateau - demonstrated the sport to an awestruck audience at the monument in an event conducted jointly by the Fencing Association of India (FAI) and Institut Francais, under the programme Bonjour India, which celebrates Indo-French collaboration.

Since fencing is an indoor sport, the two veteran fencers admitted it was quite a unique experience for them. "It was a great place to have a fencing demonstration as it was very original. Usually you don't practise outside so it was a great experience for us," said Lambert. The spectators - although initially somewhat surprised - quite appreciated the demonstration. Kavita Anand, a South Delhi resident, said, "It was quite a sight. With the backdrop of the fort and these two guys swordfighting. It felt as if I was watching some period action film."

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