BA lose athlete’s fencing equipment

A TALENTED young athlete may have to pull out of representing Great Britain in three international competitions because British Airways has lost her bag containing her fencing equipment. Jennie Tillott, 16, from Ramsey St Mary s, has been training for th

A TALENTED young athlete may have to pull out of representing Great Britain in three international competitions because British Airways has lost her bag containing her fencing equipment.

Jennie Tillott, 16, from Ramsey St Mary's, has been training for the fencing tournaments since July.

She told The Hunts Post she would be devastated if she couldn't take part.

"I've been training so hard and for so long to take part in the competitions in January and it will be horrible if I can't take part just because BA can't find my bag."

The young athlete's nightmare started on December 15 when she was en route to compete in the under 17s Cadet Fencing Tournament in France, but her bag failed to arrive in Lyon.

She said: "I couldn't believe it when my bag didn't turn up, I was gutted. It was my worst fear come true. All I had with me was what I was wearing, my mobile phone, some make up, perfume and an i-Pod."

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Despite Jennie and 12 other team members losing their bags, the Great Britain team still competed in the competition but failed to live up to their usual high standards.

Some of them even had to take part wearing their own trainers and the clothes they had travelled in.

Jennie who has been fencing for six years said: "I was not in the right frame of mind to take part in a national competition, but we were there so we

took part.

"We didn't perform very well and we had to compete in our Converse trainers, which had us slipping all over the place."

One of the girls even fractured her knee while fencing in standard trainers and was taken to hospital where she was told she wouldn't be able to compete again for two months. She will now miss the national competitions in January.

Jennie, who is a student at Millfield School in Somerset and is part of the school's fencing team, is also having to face up to the prospect of having to pull out the competitions.

She said: "I'm supposed to be flying out to take part in the Fence Sabre competition for Great Britain in Hungary on January 4, an under 20s competition in Budapest on January 7 and another one on January 27. But my parents said they can't pay for my flight and new fencing equipment so we are crossing our fingers and hoping my bag is found and delivered to me by January 3."

Jennie's bag that went missing contained £800 worth of fencing equipment.

A spokesman for British Airways said that a luggage belt had broken down at Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport on the weekend of December 15 ,causing major problems.

"We are terribly sorry about the inconvenience this has caused and we are trying to reunite passengers with their bags as soon as possible. However, we are struggling with the fog which has grounded flights and has created a problem with baggage. We are arranging couriers and are going to charter bags to their owners."

INFORMATION: Passengers who are waiting for bags that have been lost on a British Airways flight should regularly visit www.britishairways.com

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