As the year draws to a close it’s time to have a look back on a pretty remarkable year in British archery.

In any Olympic and Paralympic year, all roads tend to lead to that great sporting pinnacle, but with the European Championships in archery’s spiritual home of Nottingham – the highlight of the pre-Olympic calendar – the road to Rio wasn’t a particularly quiet one for British archers.

Medals from the outset

Our archers kicked the year off in fine style in January, collecting medals and world records at the Indoor World Cup and the International Para Championships in Dubai. Rising star Bryony Pitman took a silver at the Indoors, while 15 year old Jess Stretton broke the world record in Dubai.

Just before the Euros in Nottingham came the Archery World Cup in Shanghai, where Great Britain’s men’s recurve team – the red hot trio of Larry Godfrey, Kieran Slater and Patrick Huston – claimed the scalp of top seeds the USA en route to the semis. Seeded 9th, their run to the bronze medal match – where they were narrowly beaten by India – represented a great success and laid the foundations for further glory.

Archery’s Coming Home

The very same trio carried their fine form into the European Championships in Nottingham, winning a superb silver medal, while Patrick Huston claimed bronze in the individual recurve. The women’s compound team just missed out on bronze having earlier caused a huge shock when they knocked out world champions Ukraine. The event aimed not only to host a successful and exciting sporting event, but to build a lasting legacy for archery in this country – and the fruits of its labour will be seen in the coming years.

In June, hot on the heels of a successful Euros, Archery’s Big Weekend gave grassroots archery clubs around the country the chance to introduce the sport to the wider community. Clubs hosted free events, welcoming all-comers to have a go at archery and many clubs reported the event to be a roaring success. It is initiatives like these that will be so central to attracting more people to archery.

GB ARCHERS TEAR IT UP AT THE PARALYMPICS

And so to Rio, where Patrick Huston and Naomi Folkard represented Team GB and among the Paralympians were John Walker, Jess Stretton, Mikey Hall and Nathan Macqueen. Not content with a crack team of competitors, Archery GB’s Graham Potts flew to Brazil as lead judge and Graham filed a number of guest blogs for KUDOS from Rio, in which he described the unique atmosphere among both the team and the officials.

In the action itself Nathan Macqueen’s mere presence in the Paralympic event was little short of miraculous, while John Walker – who only took up archery after being inspired by ‘The Armless Archer’ Matt Stutzman at London 2012 – stormed to the gold in the individual compound. He made it a double success when he took gold with Jo Frith in the mixed team archery competition.

Double Paralympic gold medallist with Neil and Spencer from KUDOS

Double Paralympic gold medallist John Walker with Neil and Spencer from Kudos

A remarkable set of results in women’s Para archery made headlines when GB won gold, silver and bronze. Gold went to Jess Stretton, silver to Jo Frith and bronze to Vicky Jenkins. For Jess Stretton it capped a sensational year, one which she rounded off by being nominated for the prestigious BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

The competition in the Olympic Games was red hot and Patrick Huston, still only 20 years old, went out in the last 32 – though he had the honour of being the very first British competitor in action at the 2016 Games. In the women’s recurve, Naomi Folkard – competing in her third and final Olympic Games – enjoyed a fantastic run to the quarter-finals, losing out to the eventual gold medallist. It was a fine way to round off her Olympic career.

Amy Oliver – Double World Champion

British success resumed at the World Archery Field Championships in October where Amy Oliver was the star turn. Alongside Jessica Nilsson and Tracey Hill, Amy was part of a terrific team win for Great Britain’s women, beating Sweden to take the gold. Bryony Pitman, Sophie Benton and Rebecca Lennon all came home with medals, and Patrick Huston added another medal to his 2016 collection with bronze. But Amy Oliver’s emotional success in the individual event was the highlight, adding individual gold to the team gold she won earlier to become a double world champion.

British archery traditionally rounds off the year with the National Indoors event every December, where the national champions are crowned. This year’s event was another exciting affair, and we were present to witness Jake Walsh, youngster Lizzie Warner and Susan Corless all claim titles in their respective events. One to watch is 14 year old Layla Allinson who came a fantastic 2nd to Susan Corless in the women’s compound (seniors) as well as 2nd in the B2B.

The future is bright

The continued emergence of young talent like Bryony Pitman, Patrick Huston, Lizzie Warner, Jess Stretton and Layla Annison surely ensures the future of our sport is in good hands, and 2017 promises to be another exciting year for British archery. KUDOS remains proud to supply the kit for Archery GB and we’re already looking forward to more success next year.

KUDOS IS COMMITTED TO CHAMPIONING ARCHERY AT ALL LEVELS

KUDOS is committed to encouraging people from all backgrounds and of all ages to get into archery.

A LEADING SUPPLIER OF CUSTOM ARCHERY KIT INCLUDING TO THE ARCHERY GB TEAM

KUDOS are proud to supply custom kit to Archery GB – kit that is built for performance and worn with pride.

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