The recurve men’s and women’s teams from Great Britain both made the quarterfinals at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, qualifying the nation a full six-athlete quota for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Since the introduction of quota places, Britain has only qualified a complete team for the Games once – in Beijing in 2008.
(Six British archers competed in London in 2012 but the places were awarded to Great Britain as the host country.)
“We’ve been preparing for a very long time and we’ve been working very hard at team matches,” said Patrick Huston. “We came in prepared, rehearsed and professional, ready to do the job.”
Huston, Tom Hall and Alex Wise all shot competition bests for the ranking round to seed eighth, giving them a bye directly into the second round and an Olympic quota match-up against Furukawa Takaharu, Kuraya Tomoaki and Muto Hiroki of Japan.
The British men shot three sets of 57, 56 and 54 points to Japan’s 54, 55 and 53. They won in straight sets.
“I’ve never shot a match like that in my life. The noise was unreal and everything about the atmosphere was supercharged,” said Hall.
“In the next year, we’re going to do what we did this past year only better. We’re going to work to improve everything else. We’ve been trying to do the impossible in a really short amount of time and we’ve succeeded so far but there’s more still to come.”
As host nation of the Olympic Games, Japan will receive host country team places at the end of the qualification process.
Less than an hour after the British men qualified, their teammates Naomi Folkard, Bryony Pitman and Sarah Bettles beat Italy’s Lucilla Boari, Vanessa Landi and Tatiana Andreoli to complete the six-athlete quota.
“This is what we’ve worked so hard to do. The fact that we didn’t do it four years ago and struggled in the year leading up to the Games, to actually have a full team, men and women a year ahead of the Games, is amazing,” said Bryony.
The match was tied after two sets – and then the British women pulled away. They shot sets of 56 and 55 points to take a 6-2 victory.
“There was a fair amount of pressure,” said Sarah. “I think everyone on this field wants the same thing, everyone wants that quota place – or the team quota place for the Olympics – so it’s a huge amount of pressure to try and go for that.”
“We’ve been training really hard, really focusing on this team place so to pull it off is just a relief and amazing.”
Britain was one of 12 nations to qualify a team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in ’s-Hertogenbosch – and one of just four nations to secure a full six-athlete quota.
The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.