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Quotes of the Official Practice

30 August 2012
London (GBR)
Read the reactions and comments of the archers taking part in the London 2012 Paralympic Games after practice at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich.

  Recurve Men Standing   Matthias ALPERS (GER)   On how this, his first Paralympic Games, compares with other internationals he has competed in: “Nothing can compare to this, everything is so beautiful and fantastic. It’s also so nice to be with the other sports as one big national team.”   On his personal goals for the Games: “Just get though the ranking round, that’s my biggest challenge. I have a brain injury (ALPERS fell from a ladder in 2001, causing neurological damage and partial paralysis) so I really struggle with long periods of concentration and focus. The head-to-head eliminations is when I’m at my best, that’s when I bring my poker game.”   On his No.2 world ranking: “I’ve just seen it, world ranked No. 2, it just feels great to be one of the best in the world at what I do. If I can just repeat that result here on the podium (that) is what I want.”   On becoming a Paralympic archer: “My parents have been archers for 50 years. I started when I was 14 but stopped at 18 when studies got in the way. I had my accident in 2001 and after that one day my son, who shot with his grandparents, asked me ‘Dad please can you just try?’ So I did. I (was) surprised I could still do it and at how good I was. I had no idea archery was a Paralympic sport at all, it was just fun and it helped me so much. It helped my self-confidence a lot; my body started to come back to me and it made me much better than I was.”   Recurve Men W1 and W2   Russell WOLFE (USA) On his personal goals for London 2012: “To maintain my shooting form and be happy with the result. As it’s the Paralympics and has more attention on it, people are always saying to me, ‘Bring back the gold’. But I just repeatedly tell them that I’ll maintain my form and be happy. Also I really feel like I’m peaking performance-wise right now, which is perfect.”   On switching between compound and recurve shooting: “In 2005 I was shooting compound at the para world champs (held in Massa Carrara, Italy) but of course compounds were not in the (Paralympic) Games. So in 2006 I changed over to the recurve bow but then in 2006 compounds were added in (to the Paralympic Games programme) but I felt like I had made such a commitment in both time and money to shooting recurve, that I decided to stick with it and not change back. I still shoot compound for hunting and 3D (competitive archery shooting at three-dimensional targets) as I enjoy shooting it.”   Recurve Women W1/W2   Maria DROSTE (GER)   On training on the finals range for the first time: “I had much adrenaline, it was good for shooting. The two fields are not the same (training and finals), my arrows went very low in there (the finals range). The music is much better in the finals arena, much more boom boom, the training field is too quiet.”   On arriving at the Royal Artillery Barracks: “I have a good feeling going into these Games but I just want to see what happens, I have no specific goals. Arriving here, it feels like meeting up with friends and family, it’s great to see them all again.”   Compound Men Open:   Robert LARSSON (SWE) On how the Paralympics compares with other para international competitions: “There is much difference, this is just so big, so many people. I’m enjoying it very much, I love to go wheeling around the (Paralympic) Village and (Olympic) Park and soak up the atmosphere. All the people are just so nice.”   On his goals for the London Paralympic Games and for the future: “I have the ambition to take the gold. In practice I’m shooting (well) so I should do it. I’m currently sixth on the world ranking but I can make that jump, nothing is impossible.”   “My day job is working on a computer, I write for a company. At the moment I spend 75% of my time working and 25% training. In the future I need to do more training, really I need to move house too. I need to move to the south of Sweden and there is more competition there, I must move if I want to improve.”   Compound Women Open:   Zandra REPPE (SWE) On shooting at the London Paralympic Games: “I was fifth in Beijing, my first Games, which was OK. I have no target for (my) result, I’m in a very good category with many top archers, I think maybe 10 of us could win the title.” On shooting in the finals field: “It was great fun, I beat my teammate Robert (LARSSON) and he is really good so I’m very happy. When the stadium is full of people it will have a different feeling, maybe more nervous, maybe more fun. It changes from competition to competition, you never know how you will feel.” On how she deals with nerves: “I try to absorb it, never push it away. Absorb and enjoy, like Usain BOLT (JAM); have fun, enjoy and do your best. My only simple advice to people is relax and have fun.” On the increasing competition in the women’s open compound category: “I started in 2005, I shot my first international in 2007, I shot a world record in 2011 at 50 metres, 336 (out of 360 points). Mel CLARK (GBR) then beat it just months later and then Danielle (BROWN, GBR) beat it again. Every year it gets more and more tough, countries improve, bows improve and (shooting) techniques improve the world over.”   Danielle BROWN (GBR)   On competing at the London 2012 Games: “I’ve only done Beijing (2008) before this, as compound open was not recognised until then. It is odd being at a home Games but once you are in the (Paralympic) Village you could be anywhere, it still feels like you are away, there are people of many nationalities. Also being at home means I have support (in the crowd) each day, no one came out to Beijing, it was just too expensive and I’m not sure I would have really wanted it anyway as it was all so new to me.”   On competing and winning gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi: “The Commonwealths were great practice for this. One of the hardest things to deal with is all the down time. It’s so easy to get bored with all the waiting around. I learned a lot in Delhi on what to do and how to keep busy and also travelling with the non-disabled team was interesting.”   On training in the finals field for the first time: “Shooting (in) the finals field familiarisation session today (Tuesday) was nice but frankly I could not give a monkey, as long as the target is at 70 metres I’m good to go. The stadium does look really good, even though the stands are empty it still feels quite closed in as the stands are so high. The wind can still get in but it’s much better than the training field.”   On her personal goals for the event: “A gold medal is a real possibility for me. On a good day I can win but so can others but let’s be clear, I’m not here for the T-shirt. I also plan to enjoy it as, let’s face it, this (the London Paralympic Games) is not going to happen again in our lifetime. At the test event this place was just a building site, now it’s looking great. All we need to do is get started.”   Compound Men W1    John CAVANAGH (GBR)   On making it to the London 2012 Paralympic Games: “It’s been a long wait since I was first involved in the London bid process in 2004. I’ve not always been sure I would get here until the Stoke Mandeville competition last September (where he won a Paralympics place for GBR). After all, you only have to get ill on the wrong day and it’s all over.”   On his goal for the Games: “All I want to do is shoot as good as possible on the day, to win or lose shooting well is no disgrace. Other people may have expectations of my performance but not me.”   Norbert MURPHY (CAN)   On competing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games: “This is my third Games and I only missed out on Athens (2004) due to sickness. I like it here; it’s cool and windy. I like the wind, I consider myself a wind shooter.”   “I love shooting in the UK, it feels like I’m shooting here all the time as there are so many competitions at Stoke Mandeville. I really think I may have shot there over 50 times. It’s the regular para fixture and the place that everyone wants to compete at, and I guess it’s pretty cool that it’s the place this whole Paralympic thing started at (precursor to the Paralympic Games, the Stoke Mandeville Games, first took place in 1948).”   On his personal goal for the games: “My goal is simply to survive. Last year I shot two shoots back to back, Stoke (the Stoke Mandeville Open, September 2011) and Czech (world ranking event, August 2011) and ended up with pneumonia. I then followed that with a heart attack in April (2012) but still shot the test event just weeks later. So just surviving this will be great.”   On his competitors: “To me the archery field is just one big family. If someone has a problem or something breaks, everyone is on hand to help. I find this more in this sport than any others I have done.”   Coaches   Vladimir BRADA (CZE)   On the new competition format using sets rather than a 12-arrow total score system: “This is my third Paralympics and I think the new sets system is better all round. It gives the athlete space for a mistake. Before, if you had a bad arrow your Games were over -now you just lose one set and live on. I’m not sure if the top archers agree with me, though.”   On difficulties retaining athletes in the Czech archery team: “We are mainly a young team, but we still have some archers in their 50s. I believe this team should reach its peak in another four years’ time. Also we still have many categories to fill - compound open women and standing recurve men and women. This problem is not helped as we have had two athletes leave us to join the Paralympic cycling team. The cycling team has more funding, more training trips in glamorous locations and less competition globally. So it is very appealing - they change over and we lose them.”   Tim HAZELL (GBR)   On whether competing at a home Paralympic Games is different to away events: “There is a huge difference. There is a lot more pressure from friends and family with a home Games. We decided to have a cut-off point. After that we treated it like a normal competition abroad. For us that cut-off point was entering the holding camp at Bath. That’s when we left our families and became a new family, our archery family.”   On having the biggest Paralympic archery team ever: “I want people to know that all our athlete spots were earned at official qualifying tournaments – Turin and Stoke Mandeville (both held in 2011) – and that no host nation places were used to build this team.”   On the GBR team:  “We are a wide-ranging and diverse team, as archery is a very inclusive sport. Age-wise we have Dani (Danielle BROWN) in her early 20s and Kate MURRY who will have her 64th birthday on the day of the ranking round (30 August).”   On his expectations for the team:  “Our official goal is three to five medals but we know the Paralympic world is getting stronger and better. All I ask is that the athletes do their best. The team has trained hard. They are going to go out, perform their best and make people proud to be British.”   Hiroshi TANABE (JPN)   On Japan’s chances in the competition: “This is competition of the highest level and it will be tough for us. Our athletes’ ability is growing all the time this year. I feel we have a chance.”   “Open women’s compound is probably our best chance with Miho NAGANO as she is Asian para champion. So is Shinichi SAITO in the men’s W1, so I know they can perform.”   On the challenges of being a para archer: “All the archers have full-time jobs and have to train in their off time. I feel they have to work harder than their non-disabled teammates who have funding and sponsors.”   On the difference between attending events as coach and athlete, having done both:  “It is much easier going away as an athlete, both mentally and physically. I find the coaching job harder.”   On shooting in London:  “Compared to Japan the cooler weather here in London is an advantage to good shooting, so I hope for some high scores.”   Source: PNS Edited by World Archery Communication