FORMER Wellington Swords’ fencer Piers Gilliver has won silver in the Men’s Cat A men’s epee at the Paralympics in Rio.

For Piers, the road to Rio has been relatively easy in terms of winning fencing competitions due to his dedication, incredible family support and coaches but very difficult regarding funding and training.

When wheelchair fencing lost its UK Sport funding post London 2012, Piers and his parents turned to online crowd-funding as a start. Since then the support of private donations, local charities and local businesses have made it possible for him to continue on his road to Rio.

In March, 2015, UK Sport also recognised his medal potential and gave him individual athlete funding to set up and support a gold medal programme through to Rio.

In wheelchair fencing, the wheelchairs are clamped to frames at a set distance depending on the reach of the shortest fencer. There is no moving away from the blades! The skill is in the speed of hand and upper body mobility.

Piers, who hails from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, is currently ranked number one in the world in the Men’s Cat A men’s epee, so a medal was always a possibility.