Piers Gilliver ‘overwhelmed’ after winning Paralympic gold medal
Wheelchair fencing world champion Piers Gilliver added the Paralympic title to his achievements by winning the men’s category A epee at Tokyo 2020.
While there were a glut of British medals in cycling, equestrian and swimming on day two of the Games, Gilliver provided his nation’s standout result elsewhere.
The 26-year-old from Gloucestershire was in imperious form as he dispatched Russian Maxim Shaburov 15-11 in the deciding category A bout.
Silver medallist in Rio Gilliver won each of his six pool matches on Thursday before seeing off Ukrainian Artem Manko 15-2 in the quarter-final and then avenging his final defeat of five years ago by overcoming China’s Gang Sun 15-6 in the last four.
“I’m a little overwhelmed but very happy,” said Gilliver, who was disappointed with his last-16 elimination in the sabre on day one.
“Maxim has been a huge rival of mine for years, so I just focused on my own game plan and executed it as best I could.”
Fellow British fencer Dimitri Coutya also claimed a podium place, picking up bronze in the men’s category B following a 15-11 victory over Belarusian defending champion Andrei Pranevich in the third-placed decider.
In table tennis, reigning class seven champion Will Bayley was among three players to book quarter-final spots.
The 33-year-old overturned deficits in each of his opening two games against world number 10 Chalermpong Punpoo of Thailand en route to a 3-0 win.
“To come through in straight sets today and 3-1 yesterday is pretty good but I know bigger challenges are in front of me in the quarter-finals and that is what I am thinking about now – one match at a time so we’ll see who I get in the draw and let’s go,” he said.
Class five player Jack Hunter-Spivey and class nine’s Joshua Stacey also progressed to the last eight of their respective competitions, while Aaron McKibbin, Billy Shilton and Ross Wilson each secured passages to the last 16 of the class eight singles.
Great Britain’s women’s wheelchair basketball team suffered a second successive defeat, losing 54-48 against Japan.
The host country led 25-21 after a tight opening two quarters before pulling away in the third. Helen Freeman top-scored for GB with 14 points.
Looking forward to Friday’s final Group A match against Germany, co-captain Maddie Thompson said: “We need to go in with laser-like focus into the game tomorrow, we really need to be positive in our shots.
“I think after two losses, the team is really feeling that sad ache in our hearts, every athlete knows that feeling of when you wanted to win, but you get a loss.”
The men’s team had no such issues as they overpowered Algeria in their Group B opener.
GB, who face Germany on Friday, were 70-43 winners at Ariake Arena, with Terry Bywater and Gaz Choudhry chipping in with 11 points apiece.
On the opening day of powerlifting, Zoe Newson missed out on a podium place, finishing fourth in the women’s -41 kg with a best lift of 94kg as China’s Guo Lingling took gold with a world-record 108kg.
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