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

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.

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“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.”

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