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Kesgrave archer Nicky Hunt is using her Olympic disappointment as motivational fuel

PUBLISHED: 11:27 27 July 2012

Kesgrave archer Nicky Hunt, pictured with her two gold medals from the 2010 Commonwealth Games

Kesgrave archer Nicky Hunt, pictured with her two gold medals from the 2010 Commonwealth Games

Archant

BEACHES across the world will be populated over the coming two weeks by Brits who were dealt Olympic selection heartache.

For those that came so near, yet so far to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of competing at a home Games, the prospect of watching the action unfold may simply be too much to bear.

You certainly couldn’t blame Kesgrave archer Nicky Hunt for feeling that way.

A double gold medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the 27-year-old was forced to switch disciplines from compound to recurve as only the latter is included within the Olympics.

A lengthy sabbatical from her job as a physiotherapist allowed 18 months of intensive retraining, but her impressive climb to fifth in the Great Britain rankings from a standing start didn’t prove to be enough.

And with her partner and fellow archer Michael Peart also narrowly missing out on selection – in his case a second major Olympic blow after he was controversially left out for Beijing in 2008 – you could understand why this particular Suffolk household may not be feeling the buzz of the build-up.

Instead though, Hunt will be in the thick of the action come Saturday, storing the images of her peers standing atop podiums and using them to fuel her motivation to succeed in Rio in four years’ time.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that it was terribly disappointing not to make it,” says Hunt, reflecting on the day last May in which she was informed that she had not been included in the three-woman Team GB archery squad.

“And I guess it would have be easy for me to be bitter and say stuff about 2012 at that moment.”

However, after locking herself away for a couple of days following that bombshell of a phone call, Hunt received another which quickly helped solidify a growing feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“Team GB got in touch once the dust had settled and asked if I would like to attend the Games as their guest to see what it was all about.

“They said they understood if I didn’t want to, but told me that the archery coaches had recommended me as a big prospect for the 2016 Games in Rio and felt it would be a good experience for me to see what it’s all about.

“That immediately gave me the boost I needed to carry on. I realised it would be stupid not to learn as much as I can from these Games, especially as they are right on our doorstep.”

Having carried the torch through Christchurch Park earlier this month, Hunt will be one of 180 athletes from a variety of sports – all earmarked as strong prospects for future Commonwealth and Olympic Games – that will get an inside taste of the London spectacle over the coming days.

“I’ve been given tickets for archery and hockey sessions on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, while we’ll also get tours of the Olympic athletes village and be given seminars from former Olympians. We’ve already been taken to Loughborough to see how the kitting out procedure works too.”

The truth is though, with Hunt having already purchased tickets for other events long before she knew whether she’d be competing or not, there was never any doubt that she would turn her back on these Games.

“I have no regrets,” she said. “If compound was an Olympic discipline then I would probably be competing, but it’s not and I always knew that it was going to be a big ask to switch to recurve in time.

“I couldn’t have trained any harder and it would have been crazy for me to turn my back on these Games.

“I just have to use these next few weeks as motivation. All of the great champions have used disappointment to spur them on.”

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

Ipswich Town U18s 2

Dagenham & Redbridge U18s 1

Ipswich Town’s U18 Academy boss Alan Lee praised his side after they progressed in the FA Youth Cup after beating Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 at Portman Road last night.

FA Youth Cup

Ipswich Town 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

Ipswich Town U18 Academy boss Alan Lee is hoping his young charges can keep up the proud Blues tradition of success in youth football, with victory against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tonight, at Portman Road, 7pm ko.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes young defender Chris Smith returned from his loan spell at Chelmsford ‘more of a bloke’ and is hopeful he has a first team future.

Ipswich Town U23 3

QPR 0

Ben Morris hit a brace and Aaron Drinan opened his account in a blue shirt as an experienced Ipswich Town under 23 side eased past QPR 3-0 at Playford Road today, writes Kieren Standley.

FA Women’s Premier League

South East Division One

Ipswich Town 9

Haringey Borough 0

Ipswich Town Ladies bounced back from last Sunday’s disappointing FA Cup exit to Charlton with an emphatic 9-0 trouncing of bottom of the league Haringey Borough at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, writes Kieren Standley.

Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen is set to appeal the red card given to Eunan O’Kane following his altercation with Jonas Knudsen.

Episode Six: Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are back for another episode of the Kings of Anglia podcast to discuss the win over Leeds, Portman Road atmosphere and the latest transfer news.

Bersant Celina revealed just how much the adulation of the Ipswich Town fans means to him after his latest match-winning effort.

It’s that kind of season. Just when everything seems to be miserable, and the fans’ anger is mounting, along comes a victory to lighten the mood. At least temporarily, writes Northstander Terry Hunt.

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