GB wheelchair fencing squad receive well wishes of University of Bath as they head off from training base to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Shortly before heading out to Japan over the weekend, ParalympicsGB fencers Dimitri Coutya, Piers Gilliver and Oliver Lam-Watson, along with coach Peter Rome, were visited by Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath, and Director of Sport Stephen Baddeley to wish them well in Tokyo.
“We hope it all goes wonderfully well for you,” said Professor White. “We’re so proud that you train with us and what you have achieved over the past few years has been remarkable and truly inspirational.
“It is amazing just to watch you all in training, the speed is so impressive, and it is wonderful to see the wheelchair fencing programme growing and developing.”
The EIS World-Class Wheelchair Fencing Programme has been based at the Team Bath Sports Training Village since 2015 with Gilliver the first athlete to join. He went on to win Category A epee silver at Rio 2016, after which he was joined on the programme by fellow Paralympian Coutya.
Under the guidance of Rome, Coutya and Gilliver have won four World Championship titles between them plus a multitude of medals on the IWASF World Cup circuit. That success allowed the programme to grow again and Lam-Watson, who joined the training squad in 2019, is now set to make his Paralympics debut in Tokyo.
“It’s been a steep learning curve since joining the team but I couldn’t have chosen better sparring partners, particularly during the past 18 months when we haven’t been able to compete internationally,” said Lam-Watson, who will contest the foil and epee team events alongside Coutya and Gilliver. “We’ve been pushing it really hard in training and I think we’re in a good place going into the Games.”
As well as the team events, Coutya will compete in the individual Category B epee and foil while Gilliver goes in the Category A epee and sabre.
The ParalympicsGB fencing team will also include Gemma Collis-McCann, who is contesting her third Games, and head coach Rome said: “It’s our biggest Paralympics squad for a very long time so the sport really has grown since Rio.”
The Paralympic Games get under way on Tuesday 24th August with the wheelchair fencing competition beginning the following day in the Makuhari Messe Hall. Other University of Bath-based sportspeople competing at the Games are Sophie Kamlish and Polly Maton (athletics), Michael Taylor (paratriathlon), and Suzanna Hext and Stephanie Millward (swimming), while Maths & Physics graduate Stuart Wood contests the paracanoeing.