Archery: Team GB women disappoint in ranking round


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The Independent Online

Great Britain's chances of a medal in women's archery suffered a blow after a disappointing ranking round at Lord's this afternoon.

With 64 female archers shooting 72 arrows apiece to earn their seedings for the individual and team events, Naomi Folkard was Team GB's highest-ranked participant in 42nd place.

The Kidderminster-based 28-year-old scored 637 from a maximum 720, with six-time Olympian Alison Williamson in 47th place after scoring 629 and Amy Oliver placing 57th with a total of 608.

The pacesetters were South Korean duo Bo Bae Ki and Ya-Ting Tan of Chinese Taipei who were tied on 671 points.

With a combined total of 1874 from 216 arrows, Great Britain were seeded 11th out of 12 nations in the team event.

The knockout stages of that event are next for the trio on Sunday, when they face Russia in the round of 16.

That will be viewed as a winnable match but their quarter-final opponents would then be third seeds Chinese Taipei, who placed third and received a bye to the last eight.

Rotherham-born Oliver, 25, believes a technical fault with her bow contributed to her lowly position in the standings.

With a world ranking of 37 and some impressive results to her name in the past year, she certainly would have expected a higher position than 57th and sensed something was wrong midway through her round.

"I was in between bows all through the week and in the morning I decided to go with my blue bows," she said.

"Then halfway through the round I found out that one of my buttons that the arrow plunges against when it leaves the bow was sticky so I knew that it wasn't working correctly.

"I had to change bows halfway through and then after that I felt better and they were going where I was aiming them. (After that) I shot really well so at least I know it isn't me.

"It was a little bit distracting because I didn't know why I wasn't shooting as well as I have been all week and I was feeling strong but the arrows weren't going where they were meant to go.

"I was a bit confused and I just decided to swap bows... after that I shot a lot better."

Oliver's struggles have left her with the unenviable task of facing world number one Deepika Kumari, of India, in the first knockout phase.

Folkard confessed to being slightly frustrated not to have shot a better total but was happy with how she felt and is positive about her prospects in the coming days.

As well as meeting Russia in the team event, Folkard will line up against Russian Kristina Timofeeva and in the singles and is content with her frame of mind ahead of those matches.

"The score maybe wasn't ideal, so I'm a bit disappointed with that, but I kept going through the right mental processes and I'm pleased with the way I shot," she said.

"There were just a couple of ends where my group wasn't good enough. I have a day tomorrow to work on it then we go again in the team event on Sunday.

"You have to be confident going into the head to heads and if you're feeling good that's going to give you more confidence.

"Feeling good (about my game), for me, gives more confidence than just a good score.

"I know I'm shooting really well, I just have to put it all together."

Stafford's Williamson, who today became the third British Olympian to appear in six Games, was also putting a positive slant on things.

The 40-year-old's bronze medal in Athens eight years ago was the last British archery medal and she has not discounted another at London 2012, despite the ranking setback.

"We've done it now. We can't change the results," said Williamson, who will meet Bishindee Urantungalag in the individual elimination.

"Most people, when they look at their score at the end, will think 'I could have done this or that' but that's archery.

"We've got to get ready for the teams on Sunday morning and we're looking forward to practice tomorrow.

"If we reach the level we can then we're more than capable of a medal.

"If we're all shooting our best on the day we can do it. We'll all be trying our best."

Williamson, who was named on the shortlist for flag-bearing duties at tonight's opening ceremony, is eager to savour the unique atmosphere of a home Games, having sampled five overseas assignments since her debut in Barcelona.

"They're all about the same (amount of pressure), that doesn't get easier, but I decided to relax and enjoy it," she said.

"I'm never going to have this opportunity again.

"My parents are here as Games Makers and a lot of the others have either been on the team with us or come to internationals and we recognise them. It's nice to have that extra smile and nod."