Archery: Bettles to make Olympic debut in Tokyo
Andrew Brookes & Cash Boyle
- Credit: Archant
An archery hotshot from Harold Wood is set to make her Olympic debut after being selected to represent Great Britain.
Sarah Bettles is one of six archers picked in Team GB for the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.
Bettles spoke of her relief at finally being able to share the news, having known since March last year: "It was hard keeping it a secret for that long. I could tell my family, but my dad almost let it slip a couple of times!"
She joins four-time Olympian Naomi Folkard and fellow debutant Bryony Pitman in the women’s team, while the men’s representatives are Patrick Huston, Tom Hall and James Woodgate.
Bettles won gold as part of Team GB in the women’s recurve team event at the 2019 European Games. She was also part of the team that won bronze at the World Championships earlier that year.
It's just rewards for the 28-year-old sensation, who returned to archery at the age of 21 after taking a break for a few years in her later teens.
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At two years shy of 30, Bettles acts as something of a link between the older and younger members of the squad.
For the latter, she has assumed a "mentoring role" upon which she places great value.
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One of the greatest aspects of archery is its "inclusiveness", said the athlete, who hopes - at the very least - to make the Team GB squad for Paris in 2024.
With the cat now out of the bag, the celebrations can begin.
Describing her family and friends as "so excited", Bettles' attentions are firmly locked on the challenge ahead.
Before the squad fly out, she will participate in domestic championships at the end of May, where a strong performance is sure to leave her in good stead.
With a maiden Olympic appearance mere months away, the heat is on: "Although I have known for quite a long time, all of a sudden it's become very real."
Archery team leader David Tillotson said: “With this very talented group of athletes, our Games ambitions remain firmly in place and we are resolved and excited to deliver performances that will cast a bright and inspiring light on British archery.”
The team will compete at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field from July 23-31.