Kenilworth's Tom Hall wants Team GB gold in Tokyo to enhance archery's profile
By Sportsbeat's Will Jennings
Tom Hall admits there’s only one way for archery to enhance its profile among the British public – by Team GB winning gold medals.
The Kenilworth ace was officially selected in the Great British squad for Tokyo on Thursday in a three-pronged team alongside Patrick Huston – who competed in Rio – and James Woodgate.
Hall and Woodgate will make their Games debuts in Japan as archery continues to steadily enhance its visibility across the UK.
The recurve star thinks the sport is heading in the right direction but admits focusing on the job in hand is the only real way to inspire young kids to pick up a bow.
Hall, 30, one of over 1,100 National Lottery-funded elite athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme, said: “There’s a lot of potential in the sport.
“There’s potential for more competition formats, different ways of broadcasting it and getting more involved in interviews.
“There’s a lot of time I could spend all day thinking about that. I’ve got another job to do as well, and that’s just trying to get as good as I can at it personally to try and get the results.
“If we get some results in Tokyo, that will be bring up the exposure a huge amount as well. Long-term, I might even get involved in some of the stuff myself – but we’ve got a job to do at the moment.
“I think the great thing about it is that anyone can pick it up. It’s such an accessible sport and it took me to places I never expected to be.
“Suddenly, I’m here and it’s like: ‘how did that happen’ – it’s not what I set out to do at the start.
“I think a lot of people can surprise themselves – people can come in at any age and it’s a really open sport, and I’d love to see more people give themselves a chance at that.”
Hall’s progression has been fuelled by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme and allows him to train full time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
Hall was part of the British team who secured Olympic quota places in 2019 and has enjoyed an inexorable upwards progression since taking up the sport at university.
He studied a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Warwick but has now pivoted all his attentions towards his sporting ventures with a crack at Tokyo looming.
Hall finished ninth in an Olympic test event and after a year like no other, he added: “It feels significant.
“More than ever, it’s been difficult to train, we’ve had to adapt and change what we’re doing and things that we took for granted haven’t been able to happen.
“The standard has still increased this year – the level of competition to get onto this team was the highest me or Patrick have ever seen.
“It’s been super-intense and to come out of the other side of that is a real mark of strength. We’ve had to really dig deep to get onto this team – and we’re going to really take a lot of confidence form that.”
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo