“I’ve gone from being at the top to being at the bottom and having to find my way back up.”
A World Record, securing GB a Paralympic quota place for Tokyo and confirming her place in two gold medal matches proves Jessica Stretton is fighting to get back to the top of her game.
19-year-old Jess is reigning Paralympic and World Para Champion in the W1 division, but she isn’t defending her title at the World Archery Para Championships in Den Bosch this week, after switching division to the Compound Women’s Open category – she’s setting out to win a new one.
Jessica is pleased she made it to the Para Championships so soon after changing categories, and went into the Championships focussed on her long-term goal of making it to Tokyo. Jessica said: “To get to Tokyo, I need to stay right on top of my game, try and improve my scores and prove that I am ready to compete there.” Jess has done more than that after shooting her way to the gold medal match with her team-mates Jodie Grinham and Phoebe Pine, setting a new match play World Record of 148/150, securing her place in the individual final on Saturday and winning GB a quota place for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
A new category means new opponents and alterations to equipment. W1 archers can shoot a compound bow limited to just 45lbs in peak draw weight and they are not permitted to use magnifying scopes or levelling bubbles in their sights. Athletes in the compound open division can have those gadgets – and 15lbs more on the draw weight, with the limit at 60lbs. Jess has had to adapt fast and despite taking some time to get used to a peep sight, she has certainly proved she deserves her place among the best in the world.
Jess will be shooting for gold, alongside Jodie Grinham and Phoebe Pine in the Women’s Compound Open on Saturday 8 June at 12:30 UK time and for the Individual gold medal at 15:30 UK time. BBC Sport are streaming the live Finals, to watch please click here (please make sure you have logged into your BBC online account in advance).
A total of three Paralympic Quota places for Great Britain were secured yesterday, two in the Compound Men category won by Nathan Macqueen and John Stubbs and one Compound Women’s place secured by Jess. There are a further 18 Paralympic quota places up for grabs today, further details can be found here. Quota places are allocated to Great Britain and not individual athletes.
You can follow all the action as it happens here.
Photo: Jessica Stretton – Copyright World Archery