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Gilliver ends 24 year wait for ParalympicsGB wheelchair fencing medal

Piers Gilliver found arch-rival Sun Gang had just too much in a tense wheelchair fencing epee gold medal match at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

Gilliver lost to his Chinese opponent by a single point at the World Championships in Italy earlier this year.

And this final was similarly close, with Sun again a narrow 15-13 winner in the category A competition.

It’s my first Paralympics and I thought I coped well with the pressure and really excelled. I’ve got the foil to focus on now and there’s no reason to think a medal isn’t possible, even if my ranking isn’t that high.
Piers Gilliver

Gilliver, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Saturday, was looking to become the first ParalympicsGB fencer to win a Paralympic title since Caz Walton in 1988.

But his silver still ends a 24 year wait, dating back to David Heaton in Barcelona, for a medal of any kind. He said:

I really wanted the gold but he was the better athlete on the day. Still a Paralympic medal is a real dream and he’s such a tough competitor.

It’s my first Paralympics and I thought I coped well with the pressure and really excelled. I’ve got the foil to focus on now and there’s no reason to think a medal isn’t possible, even if my ranking isn’t that high.

Elsewhere, Gilliver’s ParalympicsGB team-mate Dmitri Coutya, 19, didn’t progress beyond the quarter-finals in the category B event.

Coutya won silver at this year’s World Championships and will now reset his sights on the foil competition, in which he claimed world bronze earlier this year.

And Gemma Collis, 23, reached the quarter-finals of the women’s category A epee before she was defeated by China’s Xufeng Zou.

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