Folkard looking to overcome Olympic disappointment at Tokyo 2020

Folkard looking to overcome Olympic disappointment at Tokyo 2020
By Sportsbeat

15/08/2019 at 15:51

Archery star Naomi Folkard has unfinished business with the Olympics.

Folkard, 35, is gunning for a fifth appearance at the Games next year in Tokyo and while she boasts medals at global and continental level, an Olympic medal still eludes her grasp.

The archer, who learnt her trade at Royal Leamington Spa Archery Society, feels in good shape with a year to go and won't rest until a place on the podium is hers.

"I'm a bit more relaxed about the Olympics this time," said Folkard, speaking during the launch of the National Tour Finals, to be held at Caldicot Castle, Wales for the first time.

"Just going to the event itself is not that motivating for me, because I've done it so many times before.

"It's the opportunity to be able to win an Olympic medal that motivates you. Tokyo is the time for me and if I'm ever going to do it, it's then.

"We measure progress by medals, at the end of the day. You can measure progress in training, your scores or whatever, but it doesn't matter if you don't win medals.

"I'm happy with my progress. I broke personal best that had stood for ten years at a test event recently. I've shot awesome, particularly in some of the team events."

British archery has never been stronger and Folkard was to the fore as both men's and women's teams qualified a full quota of places for next year's Olympics.

June's World Championships in the Netherlands saw the West Midlands product, alongside Sarah Bettles and Bryony Pitman, qualify three female places for Japan.

While Folkard's spot in the trio for Tokyo isn't yet guaranteed, the University of Birmingham graduate underscored her good form with team and mixed team medals at the recent European Games.

She was part of the British team that has come closest to an Olympic medal when, back at Beijing 2008, defeat in the bronze medal match saw the women's team settle for fourth.

Since then fortunes have fluctuated and after finishing seventh in the individual competition in Rio, the three-time World Championship medallist said it would be her final Games.

Folkard said a step up in the intensity of training and a sharpened focus on performing under pressure has given her a new lease of life ahead of another tilt at Olympic glory.

"We're in such a better position now than we were four years ago, or even eight years ago," she said.

"We were an amazing team back in 2008 and then we kind of had a stage when we went downhill.

"It's hard to know what to put it down to. We were good archers but there may have been a little bit complacency crept in.

"I suppose the biggest difference has been the mindset. It's different now, in training we're definitely a lot more competitive, rather than going through the motions a little bit.

"We're more ruthless with each other now. We have a leaderboard on who has the best averages across the weeks and months, and you don't want to be bottom."

Sportsbeat 2019

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