Frith aiming for gold at World Archery Para Championships
When Jo Frith volunteered at London 2012, little did she know it would be the start of her own Paralympic journey.
Fast forward four years and she was on the podium herself, winning mixed team compound gold and individual compound silver in Rio having started competing internationally only two years previously.
It was a Paralympic debut the 56-year-old could have only dreamed of, yet it’s fuelled the former swimmer’s desire to add more medals to her collection.
Those could come at this week’s World Archery Para Championships in Beijing, two years after Frith picked up individual W1 silver and team W1 gold in Donaueschingen, Germany.
But while her preparations have been less than ideal, it has done little to stem Firth’s determination, and she’s confident she won’t be flying home from China empty-handed.
“The year since Rio has flown by. After a short break, we went straight back into training because there was so much to do archery-wise,” she said.
“But there were also a lot of people who wanted me to go and speak to them, I did some school and club visits, so it has been non-stop for the whole year.
“I got some new equipment that I was trialling over the winter and I was working really well with it, but in the middle of this year, I developed a shoulder injury.
“I’ve been struggling to maintain my level of training while resting it enough, so my preparations for the worlds haven’t been brilliant, but I will still go out there quite confident.
"Winning an individual gold medal is what drives me on." Jo Frith
“In the individual, I should be among the medals – that’s where I would hope to be with all the training I have done.
“As for the mixed team, that’s down to who out of the three British women ranks top, they will then go through to the event with John Cavanagh.
“I’m confident that any one of us would go into the mixed team and stand a really good chance of winning a medal.”
But Frith isn’t targetting just any medal – individual gold is the one she wants and it doesn’t look to be too far away.
World gold, and the Paralympic equivalent, have so far evaded her grasp, but Frith isn’t prepared to slow down in her quest for glory any time soon.
“Winning an individual gold medal is what drives me on,” she said.
“The World and Paralympic individual golds have eluded me, so that is my main motivation at the moment.
“At the last World Championships, a Chinese archer [Guo Ying] came out of nowhere and won the title, and I’m very conscious that we’re going to Beijing and we won’t know which athletes they’re bringing along until the start of the competition.
“They have very strong archers, so it may be a new name that we have never seen before. We’ll take that in our stride, we’re prepared, but I think when we’re at our best, any one of us can go out there and win the gold.”