Suffolk archer Nicky Hunt sets sights on Rio Olympics after good European Games showing

Nicky Hunt

Nicky Hunt - Credit: Archant

Suffolk archer Nicky Hunt has her sights set on next year’s Rio Olympics following an encouraging performance at the inaugural European Games.

The 30-year-old, from Kesgrave, was a double gold medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi but was then forced to change disciplines, from compound to recurve, due to the fact that only the latter was included in the Olympic programme.

She narrowly missed out on selection for London 2012 by the narrowest of margins, despite the drastic change in bow and technique, and now believes she is back at the top of her game following a run to the last 16 at the new multi-sport tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan last week.

“I’ve had a really good 10 days out here,” said Hunt, speaking after she beat team-mate Naomi Folkard 6-0 in the last 32 before narrowly losing 6-4 to Russia’s Natalia Erdynieva.

“These Games have been run exactly like the Olympics and it’s been an amazing experience.

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“The pressure has been much higher and I feel like I’ve responded to that. I got to the last 16 and that went right to the wire. It came down to one bad shot on the last end, so to only lose by that margin was heartening.

“I kept changing my technique over the last year. In January it felt like I was on the edge of something, it felt like that for a while, and then over the last few weeks it feels like something has suddenly clicked.

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“I’ve improved massively and I’ve realised that I still have that mental strength I had when shooting compound.”

Next up is the World Archery Championships in Denmark at the end of July, at which the top eight nations will book their spots at Rio.

Great Britain, who are expected to qualify, will then have a domestic shoot-off next spring to determine which archers are selected for their squad.

Hunt is also likely to compete in the final two rounds of the World Cup series – in Poland and Colombia – later this summer.

“It’s really brought into focus how near Rio is now,” said Hunt. “Three years has just flashed by.

“I’m really happy with everything I’m doing, I’m in a really good place and feel like I’m heading in the right direction. I shot some really good arrows at the European Games and this is another great tournament experience under my belt.

“I’m getting more and more confidence. I’ve just got to keep pushing now.”

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