Hemel Hempstead's Jess Stretton scores Paralympic archery record with first place in rankings
Since the last Paralympics Jess has had to change category and is facing strong opposition in Tokyo
Hemel Hempstead's Jess Stretton scored a Paralympic archery record as the ParalympicsGB Archery squad started their Paralympic journeys in Tokyo this morning (Friday) in the ranking round for all athletes.
Having had a few days to acclimatise to the challenging heat, humidity and frequent tropical downpours, the squad put in a good all-round performance at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, in preparation for elimination competitions which begin for certain categories tomorrow (Saturday).
There was a particular standout performance from Hemel Hempstead's Jess Stretton, current world number 1, Gold medallist in Rio 2016 and still only 21 years old, who ranked first in the Individual Women’s Compound Open with a Paralympic record score of 694.
Her compatriot Phoebe Paterson Pine, who is competing in her first Paralympics, recorded a personal best of 670 (ranking 16th).
Since the last Paralympics Jess has had to change category and is facing strong opposition in Tokyo. The elimination competition for the Individual Women’s Compound Open starts on Sunday (for Phoebe) and Monday (for Jess).
The men’s team faced fierce competition and found the hot and humid conditions challenging.
John Stubbs, fresh from carrying the British flag at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony, ranked 19th and Nathan Macqueen 22nd in the Men’s Individual Compound Open.
Dave Phillips ranked 26th in the Individual Recurve Open. However, this is the preliminary ranking round and there is still all to play for when the knock-out competitions start for the men and women tomorrow.
Jess Stretton and Nathan Macqueen will compete in the Mixed Team Compound Open which takes place on Sunday.
Commenting on her record performance this morning, Jess said: “I think today went really well, I had a bit of a rocky start but then Rikki (Bingham, Stretton’s coach) and I managed to find what was needed, groups came in and I sort of relaxed into it and it showed in my scores.”
On finishing FIRST and breaking the Paralympic record, she added: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I think when it does it will be ‘Oh my God I can’t believe that - what an amazing thing’.
“I was actually quite worried about it, the difference in the competition between W1 and Compound Open is massive. It’s a very big score jump.
"I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to live up to that and shoot as well as them but I worked my butt off and I managed to get there.”
On competing in the hot conditions, Jess said: “I’m a little bit of a lizard and I’m loving this heat. It’s my ideal climate and environment. It’s perfect. Everyone else is really struggling but I’m living the life.”