Wheelchair fencers hoping to turn top ranking into gold at World Championships in Rome

07 November 2017

After a busy summer of training, University of Bath-based Piers Gilliver says he is in good shape ahead of this week’s IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Rome, Italy.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic finalist and Ambassador for Team Bath partners MJ Church is a former Junior World Champion in epee and will be looking to add the senior title to his growing list of honours after finishing runner-up in 2015.

Training partner Dimitri Coutya (pictured right) is also aiming for honours at the end of an outstanding 2017 that has seen both him and Gilliver win multiple medals on the international and domestic stage. 

“I’m feeling ready,” said Gilliver, who will compete in the Category A sabre competition on Wednesday before going for gold in his main discipline of epee on Thursday.

“I’ve been training pretty well over the summer, both here in Bath and also at international training camps like in Ukraine. I feel like my performance is going really well, so I’m just hoping it pays off.

“I changed my second weapon from foil to sabre in January, so I’ve got a long way to catch up on the other competitors. My main focus is always going to be on the epee and I’m hoping for gold there.”

Gilliver, coached by Peter Rome at the Sports Training Village, is ranked number one in the world in epee but is aware he will have to overcome plenty of strong opposition to achieve his golden goal.

“China’s Gang Sun beat me in the final of the Rio Paralympics and the last World Championships in Hungary, it’s always a challenge against him,” said Gilliver. “Russia’s Maxim Shaburov is now up to number two in the world, so again these guys are really catching up and doing well. I’ve got to make sure I keep ahead of them.” 

Coutya, who competes in Category B, goes into the World Championships ranked number one in foil and number two in epee. He goes for gold on Tuesday in foil and Wednesday in epee.

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