Archery prodigy recognised by county for record-breaking efforts
- Credit: Chris Phillips
An archery prodigy from Dagenham has secured a county record after excelling with her local club.
Mia Phillips, 12, has been attending the Bowmen of Ardleigh club in Hornchurch ever since she was introduced to the sport by her grandad just over a year ago.
Speaking to this newspaper just before Christmas, the pair voiced hope that Mia's club record of 489 - out of a possible 600 - would be confirmed at Essex county level.
Fast forward four months and the elusive confirmation has been secured, with Mia now having the best shot in the county within the under-12 age group.
The award was kept secret from Mia, ensuring she was surprised when presented with the accolade on Sunday, April 11.
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Grandad Chris Phillips said: "Mia only found out she had the county record when we presented her with the certificate. She knew she had the club record, but we wanted to keep this under wraps.
"She was originally going to be presented with it a few months ago, but we went into lockdown again so we waited until we were back shooting."
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The Jo Richardson Community School pupil set the record when she was 11, turning 12 in the November following her achievement.
A shocked Mia said: "I'm proud of myself for what I've done. I'm really pleased to have this award, and to be back with the club."
Mentored all the way by those at the Rainham Road club, Chris believes the sky is the limit: "We're very proud of Mia. She doesn't get too carried away, and works hard to get better every day."
Now back into the swing of things after restrictions were eased on March 29, Mia's next step is to put herself in the frame for county squad selection.
The 12-year-old has to enter a few open competitions for selection, with Chris hopeful that performing strongly against youngsters of a similar age will put her in contention for the under-14 squad.
Should she be chosen, Mia will hone her talent in competitions across the country.
Beyond being a proud grandad, Chris is pleased to see the coverage of Mia's success encourage more people toward archery.
"The club has had a lot of interest over the last few months," he said.
For more information, visit bowmenofardleigh.com/contact-us