WORCESTER epée fencer Abigail Watkins heads into the FIE Junior World Cup event in Germany this weekend in fine form.

She won under 17s silver at the British cadet ranking competition at Leon Paul Fencing Centre, London, to lift her seeding to fifth.

Watkins, who only turned 16 last month and trains with Malvern Hills Sword Fencing Club, is representing Great Britain under 20s in Laupheim.

Her proud father Richard said: "The European juniors will need a big step-up.

"If she were to advance out of the poules and then win one direct elimination, it would be absolutely massive at this level.

"She is getting to the juniors a year early so the experience will be a great advantage."

Her coach John Rees said: "If Abigail continues to apply her mature tactical approach she could do well."

Welsh international Watkins, a pupil at the Royal Grammar School Worcester, previously finished seventh in another British cadet ranking competition for under 17s in Manchester which moved her into the top 10.

She was invited to senior and under 17 world cup events in Estonia and Austria respectively this month but declined.

Her father Richard added: "At the start of the season coach John advised Abi to concentrate on the Junior World Cup events.

"The reasons are Abi will have her mock GCSE in November and the real thing May/June next year and would miss too much school time.

"The second is financial. There is very little national support for a fencer of Abigail's age."

Watkins is supported locally by CG5, Sport Worcester and her school.