En guard!

The international spotlight falls on Largs as Commonwealth fencing comes to the Inverclyde Sports Centre on Monday, and has a point to prove.

It is one of the biggest events ever to be staged at Inverclyde since it was opened in 1958, with more than 300 athletes from across the commonwealth heading for the sporting spectacular.

The championships continue until the following Saturday, and has been one of the few sports that have played a part in every modern Olympic Games since 1896. It has featured in the Commonwealth Games from 1950 through to 1970.

Since then the Commonwealth Fencing Federation has run a championships every four years in line with the main games. Previous championships were held in Melbourne and Budapest.

Fencing will go on day and night at the sports centre with the finals and medal matches from 5pm onwards.

Men and women from 25 commonwealth nations will travel far and wide - from Canada to New Zealand and many places in-between - to take part in team and individual events in three distinct fencing disciplines – foil, epee and sabre.

Medals are awarded to individuals and teams placed first, second and third in each category in line with the governing body’s competition rules. The nation with the best overall results receives the Wilkinson Sword Trophy.

Scotland has performed well at Commonwealth Games level, winning individual or team golds at every event since 1990, complemented by a considerable volume of silver and bronze medals. Scotland currently has several fencers in the top one hundred in the world, including one in the top ten.

As was demonstrated at the London Olympics, the quality of the event venue and layout is critical to the visual appeal of the championships, with high level presentation being crucial both to live and television audiences. Scottish Fencing intend to use the same stage and floor lighting system that was developed and built for London 2012 and which so successfully promoted the excitement and drama of the sport to a worldwide audience.

From Monday to Wednesday, the individual events take place. Format will be “pools” to begin with at around 8.15am where fencers are put in groups of around 6 and all fence each other (first to 5 hits). The results of these pools are then used to seed the competition. A knockout match system (called direct elimination where fights are to 15 hits) then starts where if there were 64 fencers, fencer seeded 1 will fence fencer 64, 2 will fence 63 and so on. The winners then fence each other in the last 32, knock out to 16 and so on all the way to the last 4.

The last four are all in the medal matches which start at 6pm (ticketed) Two semi finals decide who will fight for gold in the final. The two losers both get bronze medals.

The team events have no pools but are seeded from the results in the individual event. Same process of knockout matches but to 45 hits with three fencers on each team. The medal matches will fight off for bronze first (only one bronze medal in teams) then the gold medal match. The opening ceremony will be on Monday before the medal matches - and will take place inside the main hall at Inverclyde Sports Centre at 6pm.

There will be a 700 seat tiered seating area. Medal matches will be held on a raised piste and all matches from last 16 stage onwards will be run under profesional stage lighting. A 6m wide video wall behind the finals piste will provide updates and info throughout the day, and replays of the fencing during the evening medal matches.

* The Commonwealth Fencing Championships 2014 will be free for anyone to enter during the day. The medal matches start at 6pm each day running until around 9pm and this part of each day will be ticketed. Tickets cost £10 per adult £5 per child/concession or £50/£25 for all six medal matches taking place throughout the week. Simply present the fencing article from this week’s paper when you purchase tickets from Largs Library for the 2 to 1 ticket offer, subject to availability.

There will be a live stream of the fencing championships online at www.cfc2014.org presented by former BBC and STV presenter Neil Rougvie and GB fencing Commonwealth gold medallist Claire Bennett. The veteran championships follows the Commonwealth event from 16-19 November.