Leading British Fencing
Piers (OE 1987-1995) swam internationally during his time at QE, but then switched to water polo, playing for Great Britain as a Junior and Senior.
“I made a natural move into coaching and tutoring whilst at [Manchester] University,” he says. “I then took a job as National Development Manager for Water Polo with the ASA, the governing body for swimming.” Later, he was appointed as a Director, running the North West Region.
Following an MBA at Manchester Business School, he took up a role consulting on the UK set-up of the World Academy of Sport - a global programme offered to sports federations.
This was followed by his recruitment to help prepare fencing for London 2012, with a focus on taking the sport from one led by an amateur committee to one run as a successful business.
The fencers enjoyed mixed fortunes at the 2012 Olympics. Britain remains without an Olympic fencing medal since 1964, but there were some promising signs: in the quarter-finals of the men’s team foil, the British team were only narrowly beaten by the world number-one team, Italy, who went on to take the gold medal. Emerging talent James Davis put in a particularly impressive performance as part of the team.
Piers backed a post-Games, sport-by-sport Olympic assessment by the Independent newspaper, which called for British Fencing to be allowed to continue implementing “far-reaching change” for another Olympic cycle.
During the run-up to the 2012 Games, Piers was the Guest of Honour at QE’s Founder’s Day service at Chipping Barnet Parish Church, where he spoke of his work with the Olympic team.