World number 1 Stretton seeds top over W1 qualification
Jessica Stretton was the reigning world number one and ranking round world record holder in the women’s W1 division arriving at the Paralympic Games in Rio.
She was also the youngest archer on the qualification field at 16 years of age.
Stretton and British teammate Jo Frith, aged 56, led the women’s W1 ranking round from the start. At halfway, Frith was ahead – but a strong finish despite deteriorating weather conditions gave Stretton the edge when the final 72 arrows were shot.
She topped the field with 634 points, Frith finished with 631. The pair’s nearest challenger was a full 30 points behind.
“It felt awesome. Just like every other competition, really. I tried to keep [the importance of] it sort of down a bit in my mind so that I didn’t freak out and get really nervous. I felt it was really fun to shoot,” Stretton said.
“I could have improved a bit, and the wind was a bit tricky but I think I shot well.”
Frith added that as the light faded in the Sambodromo stadium, and the floodlights came on, aiming became trickier and the wind, which blustered from side to side, made it difficult to set a consistent sight.
Either Stretton, Frith or Vicky Jenkins, who seeded fifth, will pair with John Walker or John Cavanagh to try and take advantage of a British pole in the inaugural Paralympic W1 mixed team event. Teams have the chance to nominate their preferred pairings.
Walker ranked fifth and Cavanagh ninth over a men’s W1 qualification round that was led by Turkey’s Omer Asik.
“It was quite a level playing field, anyone’s game,” said Walker. “I wish it was still weather, then I could have shown people what I really can do, but I’ve done my best in these tough conditions.”
“My last two ends I wasn’t very happy with. I couldn’t read the wind at all and my arrows were just dropping. I don’t know if the darkness didn’t help as well. This is one of the first competitions I’ve shot under floodlight conditions so it’s quite interesting.”
The W1 individual and mixed team eliminations take place during the last two days of competition in Rio.
The para archery competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games runs 10-17 September in the Sambodromo.