What a Year!

The eve of a new year is always a time for reflection for me and, as I look back on 2014, I can’t help but think what a rollercoaster it’s been.

I started the year working in PR (as I had been for the past 12 years) and thinking that I should take up a new hobby to help me get out more and meet new people.  Little did I realise that just 9 months later, that hobby would be my full time occupation!  Not just that, but it would lead me to join one of the best Para-archery teams in the world, make fantastic new friends and open the door to so many exciting new experiences.

This year brought a lot of ‘firsts’ for me and I’m sure 2015 will bring many more, the biggest being my first international competition.  While I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead, I know it’s going to require a lot of hard work, dedication and discipline.  And I’m so ready for it! It’s all part of my journey to the Paralympics and I can’t wait for the great things that lie ahead.

I’d also like to thank all the people who have been an important part of this incredible year – my mother, for supporting me and my dreams no matter what; my boyfriend, for believing in me even when I don’t believe in myself; my coaches, for their patience and wisdom; and last but not least, my new sponsors who are helping me on my quest to be the best.  You know who you are and I can’t thank you all enough.

Happy New Year everyone and I hope 2015 is a fantastic year for you!

Winning the trophy for 'Most Improved' at the club's Xmas party

Winning the trophy for ‘Most Improved’ at the club’s Xmas party

A weekend of firsts

This weekend, I took part in the Combined National Indoor Championships which also happened to be my first big competition. And big it was!  62 bosses set up in Coventry’s Ricoh Arena was an impressive sight, as were the number of the UK’s top archers in attendance.  Most importantly for me, this was also my first time shooting as part of GB’s Para team.

Competing against the country’s best archers was a nerve-wracking affair and the sense of occasion got to me during the first half of the WA 18m round resulting in 4 misses and a ranking of 45 out of 62.  However, the halfway break gave me an opportunity to give myself a pep talk and the second half went much better – no misses and a ranking of 18.  Much better!  Overall, I scored 477 and came 38th so missed out on making it into the top 32 who went on to the second round.

The competition was a fantastic learning experience for me and gave me my first glimpse into what it might be like competing on an international level. There’s so much to consider beyond just your own shooting – temperature of the environment, proximity to other archers, lighting…I could go on and on. I loved the challenge and can only hope that this was the first of many competitions for me as part of GB’s excellent Para team.

Top moment of the day? That’s an easy one. It came when I shot a 29 end and Olympian Amy Oliver, who was on the same boss as me, congratulated me on my nice shooting.  Just goes to show that Para athletes can able bodied archers a run for their money!

And did I mention that I was the highest ranking para female? So proud of that. Onwards and upwards!

National Indoor Championships at Coventry's Ricoh Arena

National Indoor Championships at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena