First global gold is perfect birthday present as Piers Gilliver wins wheelchair fencing World Championships title in South Korea

17 September 2019

University of Bath-based wheelchair fencer Piers Gilliver saw his wait for a major global gold medal come to an end on his 25th birthday at the IWAS World Championships in South Korea.

After winning silver at the 2015 and 2017 editions, as well as the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Gilliver deservedly came out on top this time after a dominant display in the Category A epee competition.

Training partner Dimitri Coutya also reached the Category B foil final on the opening day in Cheongju but had to settle for silver on this occasion after a narrow defeat to China’s Yanke Feng.

Multiple World Cup winner Gilliver went into his competition ranked as world number one and topped the seeding list after the pool stages before beating Brazil’s Alex Sandro Souza 15-4 and Italy’s Matteo Betti 15-8 to set up a rematch of the 2017 final against Maxim Shaburov of Russia.

A brilliant performance saw Gilliver avenge that defeat 15-10 and he then overcame China’s Sai Chun Zhong 15-12 to reach the final, where he defeated Russia’s Artur Yusupov 15-9 to secure the title in fine style.

Coutya made history two years ago when he won the Category B foil title, becoming the first Brit to claim World Championships gold, and he went mighty close to defending his crown.

After easing through the pool stages, he beat Poland’s Adrian Castro without conceding a hit in the last 16 before overcoming Oleg Naumenko of the Ukraine 15-7.

Coutya then faced Chinese opposition in his last two contests, beating Daoliang Hu 15-10 in the semi-final and rallying brilliantly from 10-6 down in the final before being edged out 15-12 by Feng.

Both Coutya and Gilliver will be looking to add to their medal collection on Wednesday when they compete in the Category B epee and Category A sabre respectively.

They are coached by Peter Rome in the fencing salle at the University’s Sports Training Village. The Wheelchair Fencing World Class Programme is managed by the EiS (English Institute of Sport), which has a high-performance centre at the University. Click here to find out more.

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