September 2 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 4, 2013
She may have gone backwards since missing out on the London 2012 Olympics, but Kesgrave archer Nicky Hunt is confident she’ll come good in time for Rio 2016.
A double gold medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the 28-year-old was left with a race against time to retrain disciplines – from compound to recurve – in order to earn a place at her home Games.
An impressive rise to number five in the world rankings in double-quick time wasn’t quite enough to make the three-woman team, but such was her progress that she was earmarked as a hot prospect for 2016 and invited along to the Olympic Village as special guest.
Team GB’s failure to land an archery medal has seen the appointment of Songi Woo as their new performance coach. The South Korean – whose own promising career was cut short by injury – took Mexico from archery obscurity to having silver and bronze medallists in London.
And already the esteemed coach has begun implementing some big changes.
“I’ve not been selected for the World Championships in Turkey at the end of September, but I don’t see that as much of a problem,” said Hunt, who next weekend is cycling from Ipswich to Paris in order to raise money for the Suffolk Young Peoples’ Health Project.
“I’ve made some technical changes with our new performance coach and that creates a one step back, two steps forward situation. I’m feeling really confident that everything will start coming together as this Olympic cycle progresses.”
With numerous Team GB athletes having to go back into work following the withdrawal of funding post London 2012, Hunt – who gave up her job as a physiotherapist two years ago to focus on the sport – has been able to carry on as a full-time archer.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” she said. “Team GB was set a target of winning at least one archery medal at London 2012 and, because we didn’t achieve that, a lot of the elite level funding has been cut.
“The focus has instead shifted towards the development side of things and, because I wasn’t selected last year, I fall within that category. I’ve kept my UK Sport funding, as well as the backing of local businesses Movac and MSC, and that’s enabled me to carry on training full-time.”