Piers Gilliver admitted he couldn’t have wished for a better birthday present, after securing men’s epee A gold on the opening day of the Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Cheongju.

Gilliver celebrated turning 25 in style, defeating Russia’s Artur Yusupov 15-9 in the final after gaining revenge over old foe Maxim Shaburov two rounds earlier.

A fellow Russian, Shaburov had defeated Gilliver in the previous World Championships final, and when the pair met at an earlier stage this time round, the Paralympic silver medallist made no mistake, sealing a 15-10 win.

Gilliver beat China’s Sai Chun Zhong 15-12 to set up a shot at glory, and despite Yusupov attempting a comeback late into the match, the Brit held firm to secure the title.

He said: “It was a tough final, but it means the world to me to come through and win.

“Yusupov is a great fencer so I had to work hard for every point. At a few key points he understood what I was doing, and I had to change tactics to keep one step ahead.

“But I got there eventually, and I’m delighted with the result.”

Fellow University of Bath-based athlete Dimitri Coutya also secured a spot on the podium, claiming silver in the men’s foil B.

Despite forging a comeback attempt of his own after finding himself 10-5 down at one stage, defending champion Coutya was eventually defeated 15-12 by Paralympic gold medallist Yanke Feng.

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