By the time most people reach the age of 17 their list of accomplishments might read something like this: managed to hand in homework on time, navigated your work experience without messing up, passed your GCSEs. Jessica Stretton, however, is no ordinary teenager.
A Rapid Rise To The Top
Born in March 2000, Jess Stretton is already a multiple world record holder, a Paralympic gold medallist, an MBE, a World Champion and holder of a whole host of other titles. Still just 17, her ascent to the pinnacle of para archery has been nothing short of sensational.
Jess – who was born with cerebral palsy and has been wheelchair bound for most of her life – didn’t even give archery a go until she was 12, and in that time has packed in an eye-watering amount of success.
Having sailed through her early years of development and training, Jess found herself taken along to a Para World Ranking event in the Netherlands in 2015 purely to gain experience. Jess duly rocked up and won individual gold. It was the start of an incredible couple of years.
More Roy of the Rovers Than Roy Himself
Just a few months later, she found herself in action at the Fazza International Para Championship in Dubai alongside a bunch of her heroes. With typical aplomb, Jess won silver and set a world record for the W1 open compound category. It’s the sort of Roy of the Rovers sporting success that if you saw it in sporting fiction, you’d deride it for being too unrealistic.
The sporting fairytales continued to pile up. At last year’s Rio Paralympics, Jess defeated Jo Frith in the W1 individual archery final to claim the gold medal. Afterwards, she told BBC Radio 5 live:
I had to try to tell myself to keep calm because I did feel under pressure and sometimes I can freak out because of that. I had to trick myself into thinking it was just another shooting session which was quite difficult – but I managed it. Jessica Stretton MBE
How’s that for an elite mentality? It’s a mentality that held firm at last month’s World Para Archery Championships in Beijing, where Jess broke her own world record and won two gold medals, beating Jo Frith in a repeat of the Paralympic final to claim individual gold, and teamed up with John Cavanagh to win the W1 pairs final.
Jess is now balancing her unwavering dedication to archery with studying for her A-levels, something in which she will no doubt succeed. Jessica’s story is inspiring and – with a couple of years still to go before she even moves out of her teens – you suspect the story remains largely untold.
KUDOS IS PROUD TO SUPPORT BRITISH ARCHERY
KUDOS actively encourages people young and old and from all backgrounds to take part in archery and other sporting activity.
KUDOS SPORTS – A LEADING SUPPLIER OF CUSTOM SPORTS KIT
KUDOS supplies custom teamwear to a range of sports clubs across the country – including Archery GB. We supply bespoke custom kit that is built for performance and worn with pride.