07 July 2020

#EveryRoadToRio: Meet Archer and 3x Olympian Naomi Folkard

May 18, 2016

Next week sees Archery come to the UK as one of UK Sport’s #EveryRoadToRio events. The European Championships (and possible Olympic qualification) are being held in Nottingham 23rd – 29th May, so Sportsister’s Danielle Sellwood spoke to three times Olympian Naomi Folkard ahead of the competition to find out more about the sport.


Location, location, location!

“I’m really looking forward to the event being held in central Nottingham, It’s a great setting and a fantastic opportunity for people to get a sense of the sport. I love a big crowd, it can be nerve wracking but I enjoy the audience. It can get quite noisy, but it’s not like golf, which has strict noise policies – I prefer it quieter, but we train to be focused and block out the surroundings anyway.

In recent years it’s become the norm to hold the finals in a special location, but this is the first time it has happened in the European Championships. I’ve shot in some amazing locations – an old castle on the coast in the Dominican Republic was pretty cool, then also the business centre in Shanghai next to the river. Many of these events get really big crowds, it’s a great way of getting spectators to what is essentially a minority sport.“

Family sport

“I got into archery with my family, I was about 6 or 7, we all tried it and enjoyed it. My dad shoots most weeks and my brother still has a bow, in fact my parents will be at the finals regardless of whether I am shooting or not. I’ve been a member of the Archery GB squad since 1995 and had some amazing experiences.”


Individual sport

“It’s very much an individual sport in the sense that although you are competing against others the result is entirely dependent on how you shoot as an individual. There are not really any mind games or external factors that come into it and there’s not really any tension between you and your competitor because you have your own target – it’s really about you and your target. We’re about 3 metres apart so we just focus on our own event. “


“In the winter we do all the normal physical training to stay in good condition – so that includes cardio training and weights and then in the season we just try and maintain that fitness, but focus more on shooting practice. The sport is mainly a summer sport and outdoors, although you can shoot indoors in the winter.”


“Weather is generally not a factor, we’d only stop shooting if it was hailing badly as that would be going in our faces, or lightening is that’s an obvious safety issue. But other than that we just carry on, the rain will drop the arrows a little bit because the weight of the water will make them heavier, but we compensate for that when we shoot.

If it’s windy we have to judge how hard to shoot and adjust the direction slightly. Personally I like calm, but raining conditions – I shoot well when it’s like that, the rain means it’s overcast so there’s no sun in your eyes.“

Rio qualification

“We haven’t qualified for the Olympics yet, that’s down to how we perform at the Europeans and also the World cup a couple of weeks after where we can win places. Ideally we would come away with three spots, so we can compete as a team as well as individuals.

I’d love to go to a fourth games, I went to the test event in Rio in October and it’s looking great, plus I really enjoy the multi-sport environment – it’s pretty special, so fingers crossed I get there!”

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Find out more about the European Archery Championship in Nottingham here

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