Gemma Collis-McCann

Gemma Collis-McCann (born 10 October 1992) is a British Paralympic wheelchair fencer who competed in the Paralympics in 2012 and 2016. She is vice-chair of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation's Wheelchair Fencing Athletes' Council. She is in the GB fencing team to compete in Tokyo in 2021.

Gemma Collis-McCann
Gemma Collis at Moscow school for disabled children.jpg
Collis-McCann in 2014
Born (1992-10-10) 10 October 1992 (age 29)
EducationDurham University
Known forParalympic fencer


Gemma Collis and future husband Craig McCann visit Moscow school for disabled children in 2014

Gemma Collis grew up in Buckinghamshire as a competitive athlete in multiple sports: figure skating, hockey, 100 metres running, and triple jump, in the last of which she hoped to compete in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. But in July 2008, aged 15, she developed complex regional pain syndrome, causing altered sensation and extreme pain in her right leg, making her dependent on crutches or a wheelchair from then on. She changed from participating in sports events to coaching, officiating, and volunteering at them. In 2010, she discovered she qualified to play wheelchair basketball, and played for Wales u25s at the Lord's Taverners Wheelchair Basketball Celtic Cup 2011.[1][2][3]

She was educated at the Durham University from 2011, where she was asked if she would be interested in fencing by professor and GB wheelchair fencing coach Laszlo Jakab in 2011. Jakab would become her friend and was a witness at her wedding.[4] She competed in the Paralympics in London in 2012 after less than a year in the sport. In the team event she came sixth with team mates Gabi Down and Justine Moore.[5] She fenced again at the Paralympics in the 2016 Rio, where she was ranked eighth in the Women's Category A Épée.[6] In 2017 she had her right leg amputated as a result of the pain from complex regional pain syndrome.[7]

Gemma Collis married fellow British Paralympian Craig McCann in July 2017; both took the hyphenated last name Collis-McCann[8] He had competed at the 2012 Paralympics in wheelchair fencing, then switched sports to para-cycling by 2017.[9][10]

In 2018 Gemma Collis-McCann gained a gold medal at the World Championships in Montreal. She beat Zsuzsanna Krajnyak of Poland in the deciding match where she won 15–13.[7]

She is vice-chair of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation's Wheelchair Fencing Athletes' Council. In 2021 she joined other international representatives including Ksenia Ovsyannikova on a new Gender Equity Commission set up to look at Wheelchair Fencing.[11] In July 2021 she and three sportsmen, Piers Gilliver, Dimitri Coutya and Oliver Lam-Watson were identified as the British wheelchair fencing team who would compete at the delayed 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo.[12] Her selection followed 18 months when she did not compete due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the closing of the Tokyo qualification window by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation.[4] She has qualified for three Paralympics, but in Tokyo she qualifies for both the Category A epée and the sabre.[13]


  1. ^ Morton, Donald (22 July 2011). "Wheelchair basketball: Scots win title at Peak". Daily Record. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  2. ^ Collis-McCann, Gemma (2012). "Durham University News : Gemma Collis Biography – Durham University". Durham University News. Durham University. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Help needed to send self-funded athlete to the Summer Paralympic Games 2021". Northamptonshire Sport. 22 July 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  4. ^ a b sub.editors. "Gemma Collis-McCann: 'This sport is stuck with me for a while yet'". Palatinate. Retrieved 28 June 2021. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ "Gemma Collis-McCann". 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Gemma Collis – Wheelchair Fencing | Paralympic Athlete Profile". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Collis-McCann wins debut World Cup gold". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  8. ^ Collis, Gemma (5 July 2017). "Immensely proud to have married my best friend, @CMcCannGB on Saturday!". Twitter. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Collis-McCann claims time trial bronze". BBC Sport. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Wheelchair Fencing COLLIS-McCANN Gemma – Tokyo 2020 Paralympics". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  11. ^ "IWAS Wheelchair Fencing launches Gender Equity Commission". 16 March 2021. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Gilliver & Coutya named in GB team". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  13. ^ "ParalympicsGB reveals Wheelchair Fencing quartet for Tokyo 2020". 28 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)