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From helicopter pilot to Paralympic bronze medalist, Sportsister meets Vicky Jenkins.
This summer’s Paralympic games in Rio produced an historic 1-2-3 for the Great Britain Archers – Jessica Stretton, Jo Frith and Vicky Jenkins. But it wasn’t plain sailing for Jenkins, as she explained to Sportsister’s Danielle Sellwood.
The highs and lows of the Paralympics
“It was so special to get the 1-2-3, we’ve done it before, but to achieve it at the Paralympics is historic, it’s the first time since 1996 that this has happened.
It wasn’t easy though, I had some tough matches and was really suffering with my pain management and had to spend three days in hospital before the match. I was determined to shoot though so I spoke with the neurologist and they let me go the night before. I’d shot with this amount of pain before and having come that far I did not want to miss the chance to shoot for a medal. My nurse came along and managed the situation, we have an amazing medical team and they all contributed to me being able to shoot.”
Meeting a prince
“It’s very strange to come back and hear everyone talking about the Paralympics. It still hasn’t really sunk in.
We’ve had so many amazing experiences since we came back. The Manchester parade was amazing, really unbelievable. It was so wet, but no one cared, the streets were lined with people and we loved it. We followed that by getting on the train to London to go to the Trafalgar Square event and then on to meet the Queen.
I never thought I’d meet the queen. She met us all and was really smiley and lovely. We also met William and Andrew and we talked about helicopter flying. It was amazing really.”
Dealing with stressful situations
“Before I became ill I was the 6th women in the country and youngest to get where I did as a helicopter pilot and I think the skills I learnt from being a pilot have helped me cope with high pressure situations.
Everyone panics about different things – I’ve been in stressful situations in competitions me but I am good at staying calm. “
“I took up Archery 6 years ago and have been on the team for two years. I was a very active person before I became ill, so it was great to find something that worked for me.
I love the sport because it is something that anyone can have a go at –it’s totally inclusive. At our club we have a whole range of youngsters through to older players, it’s really friendly and you get to meet people from all over.
If you don’t want to do competitions, you don’t have to and it doesn’t have to be expensive either. When you first start you use club equipment, usually starting with a recurve bow. Then, if you like it, you can you move on and buy your own equipment.”
“I would love to go to Tokyo 2020, but there’s a lot to do between now and then, starting with the World Championships in Beijing next year.
Last year we went to Dubai in January for training and I’m hoping to do that again, the warm weather is good for me as the heat helps stop the muscle spasms – in that sense Rio was great for me and I’ve heard Toyko will be hot too.”
Find out more about Archery at ArcheryGB
Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Sports Magazine For Women