Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic archers announced
The British Olympic Association and ParalympicsGB have today announced 10 archers who have been selected to represent Great Britain at the recheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
All six members of the Olympic squad have been named, along with four members of the Paralympic team.
Archery’s final Qualifying Tournament for the Paralympic Games is scheduled to take place in July with a number of British athletes still looking to secure a spot on the ParalympicsGB team.
Two travelling reserves for the Olympic squad will also be confirmed later in the year.
Among those heading to Japan is four-time Olympian Naomi Folkard and Patrick Huston, who will compete in his second Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Sarah Bettles, Bryony Pitman, Tom Hall and James Woodgate will each make their Olympic debuts In Tokyo this summer at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field from 23-31 July.
Folkard is an experienced member of the team having competed at the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. From Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Folkard has medalled at the last two World Championships, earning bronze in both the recurve mixed team and recurve women’s team, and has also medalled at World Cups, World Games, Commonwealth Games and European Games, as well as the World Field Championships in 2018 where she took home silver.
Huston previously represented Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after winning bronze at the 2016 European Championships. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Huston won silver and bronze with mixed team partner Folkard at the European Games in 2019 and World Championships in 2017, respectively.
Although Tokyo is her first Olympic outing, Essex-born Bettles won gold as part of Team GB in the women’s recurve team event at the 2019 European Games and was part of the team that won bronze at the World Archery Championships in 2019.
Pitman, from Shoreham in West Sussex, is the youngest member of the women’s team but was also part of the bronze winning team at the 2019 World Archery Championships, and in 2019 she also won gold as part of the women’s recurve team at the European Games.
Currently ranked number one in the UK, Hall was part of the team that secured the Olympic quota places in 2019 alongside Huston and was also a member of the bronze winning team at the Archery World Cup in 2018. From Kenilworth, Warwickshire, he took up archery at university and went on to represent Great Britain at the World University Championships twice, as well as the World University Games.
At just 18, Woodgate is the youngest member of the archery team to be selected for Tokyo but has already amassed a wealth of experience having picked up the sport at the age of seven. He started competing at the age of nine in his hometown of Woking in Surrey and shot at the World Youth Championships in the recurve cadet men’s division in 2019.
Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, commented: “I’d like to congratulate all six athletes on their selection to Team GB for Tokyo. It is quite unique to have a team made up of such a mix of experience – from an athlete set to participate in their fifth Olympic Games, to one who is taking a gap year from their university studies to focus on becoming an Olympian. That really is very exciting.
“As one of the first sports to get Team GB underway in Tokyo, we’re really looking forward to seeing the general public get behind each and every one of these athletes who will no doubt put on an inspirational display when they take to the field this summer.”
David Tillotson, Olympic Team Director, said: “Like all sports and athletes we have had to adapt to a delayed Games year and worked hard on our flexibility and resilience in these uncertain and complex times. With this very talented group of athletes, our Games ambitions remain firmly in place and we are resolved and excited to deliver performances that will cast a bright and inspiring light on British archery.
“Being on so early in the Games programme gives us a great opportunity to lead TeamGB off in a successful Olympic Games.”
The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be staged from 24th August to 5th September.
Paralympic gold medallists Jess Stretton and John Stubbs are joined by Nathan Macqueen and Hazel Chaisty, who makes her Paralympic debut in Tokyo.
Stretton made an immediate impact on her Paralympic debut, winning individual gold at Rio 2016 at just 16-years-old. While the talented athlete heads to Tokyo to hopefully win again in a new category, she feels no added pressure.
“I’ve just turned 21, I’ve been an archer for eight years and have loved it from that first arrow.
“Everyone’s adapted really well to training at home and staying positive. The squad are so close, we all support each other in working towards Japan.”
For Beijing 2008 gold medallist Stubbs, Tokyo 2020 will be his fourth Paralympic Games, and the 55-year-old is looking forward to pulling on the British vest once again.
“I’m as excited as I was when I had my first taste of the Paralympic Games 13 years ago,” said Stubbs. “My passion for archery remains as strong as ever and I am proud to have the chance to represent my country once again.
“The last year has been tough for everyone. We know as athletes we’re in a privileged position because we could keep training even when ranges were closed.
“The archery community is a family and the respect and support you receive is second to none. I know they’ll be behind us when we step onto the shooting line in Tokyo.”
Tokyo 2020 will be Macqueen’s second Paralympic Games. The Scot made his debut at Rio 2016, where he finished in ninth place, losing out in the round of 16 to the eventual gold medallist. Chaisty meanwhile will line up at her first Paralympic Games having finished on the podium at World Ranking events in the last two years.
Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe said: “I am delighted to welcome Jess, John, Nathan and Hazel who together bring a tremendous mix of youth and experience to the ParalympicsGB team.
“Great Britain has a great history of success in archery at previous Paralympic Games and I know our four archers will relish the opportunity to shine on the biggest stage of all.”
Paralympic Team Leader Tom Duggan said: “All four athletes have worked tremendously hard to get to the position they are in today and there’s no doubt they are fully deserving of their place on the ParalympicsGB team.
“I am extremely proud of the determination, commitment and composure Jess, John, Nathan and Hazel have shown, particularly over the last year. They’ve adapted their homes to make room for gym equipment as well as doing bow drills with resistance bands in their gardens.
“Adjusting and adapting to new ways of training due to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated their drive and flexibility. I know this will stand them in good stead both in the build up to and during the Games.”