Archery GB team secures six medals at 2016 European Championships
Just five months before the Paralympic Games in Rio, the Archery GB para team are bringing home a fantastic six medals from the recent European Para-Archery Championships in France. The GB team came second out of 31 countries in the overall medals standing, winning a total of three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
Members of the squad also competed at a separate Continental Qualifying Tournament during the Championships, where there was the opportunity for Great Britain to secure further quota places for the 2016 Paralympic Games, adding to the nine positions already achieved. Following a highly competitive shoot against Aleksander Zubar of Russia, Nathan MacQueen secured a silver medal and a quota place in the compound men’s category, bringing the total number of GB places at the Paralympics to ten.
Saturday saw the final matches for team medals take place, with the powerful team of Jo Frith and John Walker clinching the gold medal by defeating the Russian pair with a final score of 140-121. There was also medal success for the British trio competing in the recurve women’s team competition. Amanda George, Hazel Chaisty and Tania Nadarajah lost out to a strong Russian team in the semi-finals, but fought back to win the bronze match against Italy with a score of 6-2.
On Sunday, the British women continued their recent domination in the W1 open category, with a clean sweep of the medals board. Vicky Jenkins took the bronze, with a ten point lead over her Spanish opponent, Liliana Oliveros. There was then a battle in very blustery conditions between Jo Frith and Jess Stretton for the gold medal, which Jo edged ahead in, winning 136-127.
There was also a gold medal and European title for Steve Prowse in the visually impaired 2/3 competition class. Despite difficult weather conditions, Steve took the lead in the third set and subsequently the match, with a score of 6-2 against his French competitor, Christophe Gerardin.
Michael Peart, Paralympic Coach at Archery GB, commented: “We had high hopes for the team travelling to France and they certainly met expectations. There was a fantastic level of shooting overall at the tournament and it is testament to both the team and individual medallists that they saw off the competition and secured a great medal haul, especially in such challenging weather conditions.
"We hope to build on everything that we’ve learned during the tournament and use this to hone the team’s skills in the build-up to Rio.” Michael Peart
“With less than six months until the Paralympic Games it is vital that our archers have the opportunity to practice competing in a high pressured environment and there was a great level of focus throughout the squad. We hope to build on everything that we’ve learned during the tournament and use this to hone the team’s skills in the build-up to Rio.”
A team of 18 GB archers competed at the tournament in Saint-Jean-de-Monts from 2 to 10 April across four classes. Jess Stretton, Jo Frith, Vicky Jenkins, John Walker and John Cavanagh represented the country in the W1 competition class, while Carmel Bassett, Carol Davies and Steve Prowse were competing in the recently introduced VI category. John Stubbs, Mikey Hall and Nathan MacQueen represented the male compound open archers, while Jodie Grinham and Phoebe Pine competed in the female compound open competition. The recurve open team consisted of Dave Phillips, Paul Browne, Tania Nadarajah, Amanda George and Hazel Chaisty.
The final selection shoot for athletes aiming to get their name on the team-sheet for ParalympicsGB will take place in early June and the selected athletes will subsequently be announced by the British Paralympic Association.