At the end of a long indoor season the European Indoor Championships took place in Vittel, France. As part of a 17 strong British team I was taking place in my first major European event. I arrived a day late after assisting Team Warwick to a silver medal in the British Universities Team Championships, so I had just one full day to settle in and practice before the 60 arrow 18m qualifying round the next day.
Despite a steady enough start things stopped going to plan mid round, and a couple of brushes with the two minute countdown timer landed me in big trouble. It takes a while for me to dial back in but I am determined to move up the rankings and summon a powerful finish, scoring 117 and 118 for my final two dozen arrows to finish on 576/600. Although it’s not my finest ranking round this is still one point better than anything I'd ever shot before this season and good enough for 14th seed out of 29.
My first round match is straight after qualifying and it’s a tight one against Lasha Pkhakadze of Georgia. We are both shooting at a higher standard than the ranking round suggests, and it is only through shooting two perfect ends of 30 in the last two sets that I am able to overcome the challenge and move through to the 1/8th round. That follows on the next day, and here I take on the Italian 2004 Olympic champion Marco Galiazzo. This turned out to be an even tighter match than the last but started well with me taking the first set 30 to 28. Things stopped going my way after that, and I lost the next three by a single point (29-30, 28-29, 29-30), with two of my arrows found to be less than 1mm away from the 10. Although I was obviously disappointed to be out of the competition, especially by such a close margin, I was pleased to have shot well in my matches and put up a good fight. With a little luck and some more improvement I know I can go even further at this level.
Unfortunately there were no other senior recurve men who qualified to represent GB, and World Archery have yet to implement the mixed team event for indoor competition, so with that my trip is over. I am proud to have been much more competitive than in my previous two GB outings, but also more motivated than ever to improve because I sense that success at this level is almost within reach!
Thank you very much for the support from Warwick SU, who have helped to fund the costs of entry, travel and accommodation for this event.