Chichester fencer out to set record straight - and land London 2012 chance

Viv Mills is hoping to edge closer to a chance to shine at the London Paralympics Picture by Richard Heathcote
Viv Mills is hoping to edge closer to a chance to shine at the London Paralympics Picture by Richard Heathcote
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CHICHESTER fencer Vivien Mills is trying to set the world championship record straight in Sicily this week after admitting nerves got the better of her at last year’s global showdown.

Mills made her world bow in Paris last November but by her own admission was struck down by the magnitude of the event.

However with that experience and a UK-hosted European championships now under her belt the 57-year-old is confident of turning the tables this time around.

Despite being involved in the sport for just two years Mills could go a long way to securing a spot at London 2012 at the Italian event – the penultimate opportunity to score Paralympic qualification points.

Despite the magnitude of the task at hand Mills, who like the rest of the GB fencing team is supported by Beazley, was adamant the pressure would not get to her this week.

“I feel a lot more confident that I did last year and I am hoping to do much better than I did in Paris,” said Mills before she left for Sicily.

“Last year I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights because it was my first world championships.

“But I know what to expect this year and I am confident that I can do well and hopefully give myself a good chance of qualifying for London 2012.

“There will be nerves but I am not worrying too much because I can only do my best and then see what happens from there.

“The top 14 or 15 in the world will qualify for London 2012 and after the World Championships there is only one more event where you can score points so it is important and I’m looking forward to it.”

Mills was off-colour at the European championships in Sheffield in July, finishing bottom of the pile in the sabre event while failing to make the top 15 in the epee. The Chichester ace saw her medal bid severely hampered by equipment issues in the Steel City – a problem she’s delighted to have ditched in Italy.

“At the European Championships my wheelchair didn’t fit into the stand that was supposed to hold it still because it was from the 1950s and not geared up for the new competition wheelchair that I have,” she added.

“But in Sicily they have the right stands and so I don’t have to worry about slipping around and I can just concentrate on hopefully getting a good result.

“If I can get into the last 16 in the epee that will be a good result for me.”

* British Fencing is proudly supported by specialist Lloyd’s insurer Beazley. Go to www.beazleybritishfencing.com for fencing news, pictures and athlete blogs.

TOM REYNOLDS