26 August 2021
Wheelchair fencing success continues with men's épée team bronze
ParalympicsGB added to their wheelchair fencing success with a men’s épée team bronze in Tokyo, as Piers Gilliver, Dimitri Coutya and Oliver Lam-Watson saw off Ukraine to clinch the last podium place.
The trio’s endeavours began with a convincing 45-29 triumph over Rio 2016 champions France, before further 45-28 and 45-30 wins over Ukraine and Poland respectively safely navigated them out of Pool 2.
Eventual gold medallists the Russian Paralympic Committee - comprising of individual category A silver medallist Maxim Shaburov, category B gold medallist Alexander Kuzyukov and Artur Yusupov - proved too strong in the semi-final 45-35.
Piers Gilliver added team bronze to his tally after earlier claiming gold in the men’s épée category A individual event
But in a second meeting with Ukrainians Artem Manko, Andrii Demchuk and Oleg Naumenko, the British squad bounced back with a 45-38 victory to notch a third fencing gong at the Games, and a first épée team medal since 1980.
Gilliver said: “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but it feels amazing. It’s what we’ve been aiming and training for, so for it to come off is something else.
“It has been a big challenge psychologically to be competing for the first time in nearly two years.
“We haven’t done team events for long so to come away with a medal is amazing.”
Dimitri Coutya added a second bronze medal to his Tokyo 2020 haul
Team bronze marks a second podium finish for 26-year-old Gilliver, who bettered his Rio silver by romping to the top spot in the épée individual category A with victory over Shaburov in the gold medal bout, after also reaching the round of 16 stage in the sabre competition.
Coutya - who progressed to the quarter-final stages of both category B individual foil and épée events at the Rio Games five years ago - similarly claimed his second medal of the Tokyo Games, after bronze success in the individual épée.
“I am so happy with today’s result,” said Coutya. “It really raises your confidence seeing all the hard work we’ve put in come together.
It is lovely to compete with my two best friends and to get such a great result with the guys is phenomenal
“It has been a challenging competition with lots of emotions to manage, but we do a lot of work to keep our mental state in the best position to compete. I’m delighted we have achieved this today.”
Paralympic debutant Lam-Watson added: “I love competing in a team - it is lovely to compete with my two best friends. To get such a great result with the guys is phenomenal.
“The Paralympics have really surpassed my expectations and it is so great to share it with my team. The progression that the team has made is amazing.”
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