Wheelchair Fencers on target for ParalympicsGB
about a year ago
The British Paralympic Association today announced that seven fencers will compete for ParalympicsGB at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Six of the seven fencers selected will be making their Paralympic debuts. Gemma Collis (Aylesbury), Gabby Down (Milton Keynes) and Justine Moore (Blackpool) will make up the young female Epee Team with an average age of 18 years old. In fact, Gabby Down who will be 14 years old at the end of May is likely to be one of the youngest British athletes to compete at the 2012 Paralympic Games
Tom Hall-Butcher (Derby) will make his Paralympic debut in the Men’s Sabre Class A event.
Bringing experience to the Men’s Foil team is David Heaton (Blackpool), who has already competed at four Paralympic Games and had retired after Athens 2004 but has returned to the sport in 2011 rejuvenated and motivated by the developing programme structure. He will be joined by Paralympic debutants Craig McCann (Doncaster) and Simon Wilson (Stockport/Nottingham). Today’s announcement is a fantastic development for Wheelchair Fencing, a sport which has developed hugely in recent years: just one fencer represented ParalympicsGB in Beijing but since then, the sport has focussed on recruiting top fencing talent to the squad and membership of the British Disabled Fencing Association has tripled in the past two years.
In addition, the whole team has benefitted from participating in the BPA’s Talent Transition Programme, a six month programme designed to fast-track athletes.
Craig Hunter, Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB, expressed his delight at the announcement, saying: “To have seven fencers selected to represent ParalympicsGB in London is a great achievement and the sport should be congratulated for all the hard work that has gone into getting such a massive increase from the one athlete we had in Beijing. It is a testament to the dedication of the athletes involved, the work done by British Disabled Fencing Association and the BPA’s talent development programmes, that we are in a position to select so many more world-class athletes from this sport this
“The selections we are making today are not just about London; the work that has been done in the last four years in this sport will continue to pay dividends for years to come."Craig Hunter
Hopefully we will continue to see this sport grow both in terms of people competing at elite level and people participating at their local club.”
Justine Willmott, Performance Manager from Wheelchair Fencing, said: “The Wheelchair Fencing Performance Programme has really progressed in this Paralympic cycle and it is great that ParalympicsGB will have a much larger team size for Wheelchair Fencing at the London 2012 Paralympics. As well as having two fencers competing in the individual events, there will be representation in both the male and female Team events’’
The full list of fencers is: