Hall-Butcher on guard for Paralympics fencing bid

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TOM Hall-Butcher (22) from Somercotes, is on the London medals trail as part of the GB Paralympics wheelchair fencing team this week.

Following a training camp in Nottingham, the seven-strong fencing team moved on to the Paralympic holding camp at the University of Bath, where focused sessions with coaches, physiotherapists, sports scientists and nutritionists developed personal plans and routines to get the athletes to their peak at the right time.

Due to exams, Tom missed out on the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, but “London 2012 has been the biggest goal of mine for the last four years,” he said.

“When I found out from the British Disabled Fencing Association that I’d been selected I felt excited but also a bit worried about performing in front of the home crowd. I was a bit stunned.

“Getting the kit was definitely an awakening kind of moment - I suddenly realised that it was real. Up until then I was in a daydream from the moment I was told I was on the team.

“No one on the team is used to having a lot of people cheering for them but that will be a great experience and one that we need to use to our advantage.”

After taking part in the opening ceremony, the teamn headed back to Bath to concentrate on their training, ahead of competing at the ExCel Centre from 4th-8th September.

Tom will be competing next Thursday in a new fencing chair that GB fencing team sponsor and specialist insurer Beazley has supported through a successful Sport England Sportsmatch funding application.

The Beazley and Sportsmatch funding for the Wheelchair Fencing Chair project has enabled the British Disabled Fencing Association to finance the production of a pool of 12 high performance wheelchair fencing chairs.

For more information on the British Paralympic team and to follow Tom’s progress at the Games, visit www.beazleybritishfencing.com.