They’ve done it! We’re off to the Olympics!
Britain has six places – the most we can win – at the Tokyo Olympics. And it’s all thanks to stunning performances by our victorious recurve teams.
They had to reach the quarter finals of the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships – and they did it in style.
First up were Tom Hall, Patrick Huston and Alex Wise. They qualified in eighth place, earning a bye into the last 16 and a showdown with Japan. And they started as they meant to go on, winning the first set 57-54 and the second and third by a single point to make it a clean sweep.
Tom told World Archery: “I’ve never shot a match like that in my life. The noise was unreal and everything about the atmosphere was super charged.
“You don’t feel the competition when you’re there… this is everything you’ve trained for. I think the fact that it’s the biggest event that you’ve been preparing for gives you the energy and gives you the strength. When you come and you just focus on shooting, that pressure becomes power and from there you almost don’t understand how it’s happening, it just takes care of itself and the results come. It just comes from all the background work and all the training.”
Patrick said: “We’ve been preparing for a very long time and we’ve been working very hard at team matches. We came in prepared, rehearsed and professional, ready to do the job.”
Alex said the whole thing had been incredible: “I don’t know how I felt during the match against Japan. When we got the first set, that’s when it started to actually get incredibly intense.”
Hot on their heels were Sarah Bettles, Bryony Pitman and Naomi Folkard. The fifth seeds also got a bye into the last 16 and faced Italy. Britain took first blood but the Italians fought back to take the second. That’s when Sarah, Bryony and Naomi hit their stride, taking sets three and four in style to secure a 6-2 win and the all-important quota places.
Bryony said: “This is what we’ve worked so hard to do . The fact that we didn’t do it four years ago and struggled in the year leading up to the Games – to actually have a full team, men and women a year ahead of the Games, it’s amazing.
“I think seeing the men qualify kind of spurred us on a little bit. It was like more of a motivator than anything else. They were all there at the back cheering for us, just a really nice team atmosphere.”
Sarah said: “It’s been amazing . It’s also worth saying that Bryony’s had a pretty tough week. Her grandad passed away on qualifying day, so I think that kind of just makes it all that more special that she’s been able to do that for him. I am sure he would have been proud.”
The men now face top seeds Korea for a place in the semis and the women are up against Germany.
Only three other countries have secured the maximum six places: Korea, China and Chinese Taipei.
Archery GB’s National Coach, Richard Priestman, said: “I am a very proud coach, with both men and women winning the full three quota places each for the Tokyo Olympic Games. This has been a tough three-year journey of planning and hard work to build two teams capable of achieving . Now we can plan to win.”
Performance Director David Tillotson praised the positive and committed responses from the athletes. He said the result was a landmark in the British sport’s progress since it lost its funding and a testament to the more structured programme and its competition readiness focus.