Talented British trio set sights on gold ahead of world youth championships
Paralympic Champion Jessica Stretton joins cadet world champion Lucy Mason and Hyundai Archery World Cup medallist Ella Gibson in a formidable compound junior women’s team representing Great Britain at the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid.
All 19 years of age, they’ve got diverse international records that stand out on the field. But it’s the first time they’ll shoot together and in this category.
“I think we have a very good chance as a team,” said Gibson. “We’ve all been shooting well this year and we’ve got some good practice together now.”
Stretton was the gold medallist in the W1 division at the 2016 Paralympic Games, where she was the youngest competitor. She came second, after moving to the compound open category, at the World Archery Para Championships earlier this summer.
Mason and Gibson have been shooting on the British senior team that took medals on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit in 2019.
Madrid, though, is something special. It’s Stretton’s first able-bodied tournament, for a start, and this is Gibson’s first-ever championships – while Mason, who won gold as a cadet in 2017, is shooting her first worlds as a junior.
“To me, it is very different because my archery career has 99% been in the senior category, because there’s obviously no junior for paras, so it’s definitely different,” said Stretton.
“I know there’s a gap between the level of competition, para-wise and able-bodied-wise. I think it’s definitely going to help me push to improve my score and try to shoot as good as these guys.”
Jessica is the only wheelchair athlete competing in Madrid. She holds the para world record for the 15-arrow match at 148 points.
“We’ve seen her shooting, we got to watch her medal matches at the para worlds and I think we are going to get used to her and shooting with her this week,” said Ella.
Lucy added: “With all of our experience, as long as we keep focused and shoot as we did in practice, we should get some good scores and hopefully that leads to winning matches.”
Despite stints on the senior squads and their international medals, these three girls are all-in on the event in Madrid.
“We are still juniors and this is still our category, so shooting in the seniors is great and is a bonus, but this is what we should be aiming for as for the main goal for the year,” said Mason. “All the senior stuff is gaining experience.”
Competition for the compound junior women at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships starts with qualification on Tuesday afternoon.
The 2019 World Archery Youth Championships takes place on 19-25 August in Madrid, Spain.