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BRITISH TEAM RETURNS TO WORLD CUP PODIUM AFTER 6 YEARS

archery GB tom hall

"Last week I won a bronze medal in the men's team event at the Antalya World Cup stage. This is our first World Cup medal for a long time and the result of a hard winters training together, practicing the team event and working hard to improve our timing and precision under the high pressure of match conditions. We started extremely well during qualifying, with the team ranked 4th after 18 arrows each, but a dip in scoring saw us drop down to finish 14th out of 29 teams by the end of qualification. The top 24 are taken through to eliminations, and the next day we worked our way through a tight first round match against Indonesia. After that we were drawn against the 3rd seeds, France. There were some high scoring sets but the French team showed weakness that we exploited to take the match to a tie-breaker, which we comfortably won with 29/30 points.

The next rounds quarter final was an edgy match against Spain, who had also broken seed and the set scores were slightly lower, again ending with a tie-breaker. Once again we were the more consistent, finding a 10 and two 9s to progress through to the semi finals. Ironically this was our best scoring match, and despite finishing strong in the last set with a score of 57/60 we were put down by Japan who closed the match out with 59/60.

Two days later we contested the bronze medal against Malaysia on the finals field on Baki beach in downtown Antalya. Finals matches are a different challenge as we get no chance to practice on the range beforehand, instead moving straight into scoring for live TV.

Although we had a practice range nearby, the conditions were very different and all of the teams struggled to adjust their sights for the change in wind, slope and lighting between the two ranges. After a shaky start we started to outscore our opponents in the second and third sets, and ended up with a substantial lead in the fourth and final set. Despite this I struggled slightly to get the final arrow of the match away, and a wild shot was worth just enough points to seal the match and the bronze medal.

For a first World Cup medal it was a great experience and a reflection of the increasing quality of the GB team. We still have room to improve though, and we are now focusing our training more on the European Championships in August, where we plan to deliver an even stronger performance and compete for the gold medal!"

Our next International event is the 4th and final World Cup stage in Berlin, followed by the European Championships in Legnica, Poland.

Thanks to Patrick Huston and Alex Wise, my teammates for the event and the rest of the season.