Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver eyes fourth consecutive World Cup gold
By Saniya Surana | For IWAS
Paralympic and World Championships medallist Piers Gilliver is set to compete at the 2019 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Cup in Pisa, Italy, from 21 March, aiming to win his fourth consecutive gold medal.
The 24-year-old is keen to put his best foot forward in the men’s epee category A, given the importance for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic qualification. He wants to break a personal record and add to his wins which started in Tbilisi, Georgia in November 2018 and continued in Kyoto, Japan; and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
“For the Rio 2016 qualification period I won gold in the first three qualification events, so now I’m keen to go one better and make Pisa my fourth consecutive gold in the Tokyo 2020 cycle,” Gilliver said.
Apart from targeting more success in his specialist event and gathering as many gold medals as possible this season, Gilliver is looking towards further ahead and also has plans to improve in sabre:
“The World Championships are the big goal for me this season, it’s the most prestigious event of the year and important for Tokyo qualification. For the season as a whole, I have the goals of dominating the podium in epee, winning as many gold medals as I can. I’m also keen to improve in sabre, I’ve only been training in this for a couple of years and so I’m keen to keep progressing and increasing my sabre podium appearances.”
Gilliver views winning silver in the epee at the Rio 2016 Paralympics as a source of immense pride. He considers his ability and strive to continuously improve and be consistent in his performances as a great asset.
Having found wheelchair fencing by accident, he attributes his growth and journey to a successful full-time athlete to his winning attitude and the fire in his belly.
He said: “I think one of the key things to success is to never stop trying to improve yourself, looking at all available ways to get a small improvement. Also, the determination to always give it all that you have in every session, making each day count.”
Also a connoisseur of music, listening to his vinyl record collection of Blues, Jazz and 1960s/70s rock, Gilliver believes he has come a long way since the last Paralympic cycle.
“It is only the athlete on the podium but many people have given a lot to get me there and I’m always grateful to them for that. Since my medal in Rio, I’m in a much better position, being able to access better training and being able to get a stronger team supporting me, so it’s a really exciting time for me, my coach and my teammates.”
The 2019 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Pisa runs from 21-24 March and features men’s and women’s epee, sabre and foil in category A and B as well as team events in the epee and foil.
The competition is the latest stop on the road to this year’s World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea, from 17-23 September.
It is also a chance for athletes to gain qualification points for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.