The British archery team find themselves in a great position going into the Paralympic Games – ranked one, two and three in the world.
Former world champion Mel Clarke, who is making her Parlympic Games debut in Beijing, is gunning for gold, but her team mates Danielle Brown and Pippa Britton may well be her toughest competition.
“At the moment we are ranked one, two, three and in the world,” said Clarke, who was world champion in the individual compound event in 2005. “A sweep of the medals would be nice – it would be a good photograph.”
Danielle Brown took the world champion title last year in Korea and will also be hoping for the Gold. Teammater Pippa Britton finished fourth in Korea is also a strong medal contender.
“We are planning to meet in the final,” said Clarke. “We’ve agreed that we’ll avoid each other till then, and bronze will already be won.”
Team manager Tim Hazell comments, “Anything can happen because of the head-to-heads. They may end up playing against each other like the British girls did in the Olympics.”
Great Britain topped the archery medals table in Athens four years ago as the only country to win two gold medals. Clarke is one of several new faces on the team this time and Hazell is confident that the Paralympics GB archers are fully prepared to repeat their Athens success.
“I honestly believe we are as well prepared as can be at his moment in time,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of work over the last few years. This is a fairly new team, we have two ex-Paralympians in the team but everybody else is new.”
Clarke became an international archer in 2002, and was the first disabled archer to shoot for the able-bodied team.
“I shoot compound bow and in Athens that wasn’t an event. It never has been part of the Paralympics so it’s never figured in my plans at all. Up to now it was always the European Championships and World Championships that I would look for. Up until now the Paralympics wasn’t part of the sport for me, so it’s great to have the opportunity to be here.”
Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine