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RIO DE JANEIRO (March 9) - Thousands of school children in Rio de Janeiro will learn how to cut, thrust and parry over the next few weeks with the FIE's Fencing School program

Twelve national level coaches will work their way through dozens of schools and sports communities all over the city teaching kids the basics of the sport with equipment provided by the International Fencing Federation "The aim of the FIE Fencing School program is to promote our sport on a continent that's not traditionally associated with fencing," said Arno Perillier Schneider, the head of fencing at the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee.

The program starts this month and runs until the Olympic fencing test event on April 22 - 27, when the Rio stage of the Fencing Grand Prix series will be held back to back with the team world championships at the Carioca 3 Arena.

On its mission to further popularize one of the original five Olympic disciplines, the FIE Fencing School program will visit a variety of neighbourhoods, from some of the more affluent barrios to Brazil's biggest favela, Rocinha.

"Getting into the schools is where we can really make a difference and help create a tangible legacy for the Games," added Mirani Fernandes, fencing services manager at Rio 2016.

Several 40 minute fencing clinics will be held at every school for children aged 5 to 15. T-shirts and badges will be handed out along with literature on the rules of fencing and information on the nearest clubs.

On top of the fencing lessons, tickets to the Olympic competition itself will be made available to children for the duration of the program, which carries the tagline: "Learn the Art of Fencing."

Separately, a fencing demonstration will be held near the Copacabana beach on April 20-21, just ahead of the test event, allowing members of the public to give the sport a try along with activities for children.