University of Bath-based wheelchair fencer Piers Gilliver can begin preparing for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in earnest after finishing his qualification campaign ranked number one in the world.
The 21-year-old won a silver medal at the IWAS European Championships in Torino, Italy on Thursday to confirm his status as the top epee fencer during the two-year qualification period.
Gilliver was ninth at the last European Championships in 2014 but has been in excellent form since then and went into the competition as the number one seed.
He retained that status after winning all six of his poule bouts, which earned him a bye into the last 16.
A 15-7 victory over Germany’s Maurice Schmidt and 15-5 win against Robert Citerne of France put Gilliver into the semi-finals, where he again impressed by beating Russia’s Viktor Dronov 15-6.
The final against number two seed Maxim Shaburov proved to be close fought but it was the Russian who took the gold medal with a 15-12 win.
The Rio 2016 qualification period finishes after next week’s American Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The ParalympicsGB wheelchair fencing team for Rio will then be officially announced.
Gilliver, whose lead coach is Peter Rome, has been training at the University of Bath for the past year and works with the Pentathlon GB athletes training towards next week’s World Championships and this summer’s Olympic Games.