New facility to train world-leading wheelchair fencers opens at Bath University

  • Watch Ross Arnott's report on the new wheelchair fencing facility here

A brand new training facility for Great Britain's wheelchair fencing team has opened at Bath University.

The facility was officially opened by World Champions and Tokyo 2020 medallists Dimitri Coutya and Piers Gilliver, who is from the Forest of Dean.

The pair are fresh from winning four gold medals apiece at the 2022 European Championships.

Both Coutya and Giliver started their wheelchair fencing journeys seven years ago and until now, have not had a permanent centre for training.

Both Dimitri and Piers believe the centre will be fantastic for the future generations of wheelchair fencers.

They told ITV News the lack of space had made it tough but that fencers of the future would now benefit from having a purpose-built facility.

"When I started fencing I was the only member of the the squad here at Team Bath," Piers explained.

"To see how this centre and facility will now help other people with their preparations ahead of events is really exciting.

"It will definitely help fencers of the future and it looks really promising."

At the unveiling of the facility, Coutya and Gilliver treated guests to a friendly fencing demonstration.

Reflecting on their friendship, Dimitri said: "Whenever we don't do well or if there is something we think that we could be doing bette, then we point it out but it is never in a competitive way.

The site was officially opened by Piers and Dimitri after they gave a fencing demonstration.

"We always just want the best for ourselves, each other and the squad as well."

Piers said: "We have grown up together and it has been years now. The whole squad has a real togetherness now.

"I would say that we can get competitive on some stupid games or on Warzone or something but apart from that we just get on with it when it comes to fencing.

"Fencing is probably the thing we are least competitive at."

The new centre is based at Bath University's and was funded by an investment of just under £500,000 from Sport England via UK Sport.

Piers said: "For me it is really great to see this legacy growing here. The team is getting bigger and bigger which is fantastic and shows how far we have come.

"It is exciting times, it is our own centre and future generations training here will definitely benefit."