Olympic archers competing ahead of tomorrow's Tokyo opening ceremony
Naomi Folkard and Tom Hall begin medal bid for Team GB in Japan
Archers Naomi Folkard and Tom Hall will step out onto the world’s stage in the early hours of tomorrow morning (Friday), representing Great Britain at Tokyo 2020.
For Naomi it will be her fifth Olympics, while Tom is making his debut in Japan
With a baby daughter to leave behind, the 37-year-old Leamington mum knows this year’s Games will be very different from Athens in 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio in 2016 and with a new perspective on life she is looking forward to the challenge.
The three-time world bronze medallist and 2019 European champion hopes Team GB can end their medal drought since 2004.
Naomi’s best result came in the women’s team event in Beijing 2008, when Great Britain were fourth. Individually her best was seventh in Rio.
And Tom, 30, who only took up the sport at Warwick University ten years ago couldn’t have imagined where his student hobby would lead.
Originally from Croydon, he has lived in Kenilworth for the last four years, having combined archery, with successfully completing his chemistry PhD.
He has progressed to the top of his sport very quickly and admits finding it all rather surreal after a whirlwind journey over the past five years.
He was fifth in the GB selection shoot for Rio, so watching on television inspired him to learn more about archery and improve his results.
Speaking just after his selection in April, Tom said: “After a few weeks of archery at university, one of the coaches said if you practise you could be quite good at this.
“I’d never been good at a sport before – but it turns out she was right, although I don’t suppose she was expecting I’d be in the Olympics!
“I’m really grateful for the start that I got from the club at Warwick, I’ve had really good support and really enjoyed my time there, shooting indoors and outdoors.
“I know Great Britain have the depth and quality in both the men’s and women’s team.
“From our scores we know our level is good and we have the potential to do well.
“It used to be, if we are lucky and having a good day we could do it, now we know if we do what we can do a medal in Toyko is a definite possibility and that’s really exciting.”
Competition is due to begin at Yumenoshima Ranking Field in the early hours of the morning (0900 Friday in Japan) for the women’s individual ranking and slightly later for the men (1300 Friday in Japan) continuing with the mixed team event throughout tomorrow (Saturday).
Sunday sees the women’s team event followed by the men’s team event on Monday.
On Tuesday the individual eliminations will begin, providing more excitement, continuing through to Friday, for the quarter-final, semi and final stages for the women.
Saturday (July 31) is medal day for the men, again reaching the thrilling final stages.