Qualification - Friday 27th July 2012
By Amy’s extremely proud Dad
What a start to Amy’s first Olympics. We knew from talking to her in the morning that she was relaxed and looking forward to starting the qualification rounds. The men had shot well in the morning and Larry was in 4th place behind the three Korean archers.
Amy was due to start at 13:00 yesterday and was texting James during the practise session before the start and everything was feeling good.
The Oliver Support Team (Mum – Lynda, Auntie – Michelle, James – Partner, and me-Neil) had just finished watching the Olympic Torch reach its final destination at Tower Bridge, before its final journey to the Olympic stadium later that night, and now we had to find somewhere with WiFi to have a good connection to receive updates from @archerygb on Twitter. Luckily a coffee house was close so that would be our resting place for the next couple of hours.
The qualifying round was a 720 round, basically 72 arrows with a maximum score of 720 with the centre of the gold being 10 points and the arrows are shot in groups of six, then scores recorded and arrows returned to the archers.
Amy started well. The scores were very close with only 11 points between the leader and Amy in 44th position after 18 arrows. This continued for the next 12 arrows with Amy dropping a little into 47th position, then at the next update from @archerygb Amy had dropped to 59th position and a score of 43 for 6 arrows and we were totally surprised, we looked around at each other, looked out of the window to see if the weather had suddenly changed and started to rain or become windy but it was fine, so we said OK, maybe a couple of bad arrows, or even a possible miss with one arrow, which can happen even at this level, and we eagerly waited for the next update.
As the updates came through the scores were still lower than expected, 51, then 45, 53, 51, 48 something had to be wrong, but there was nothing we could do but wait for the next update and think how Amy must be feeling.
Then the scores moved back to the level we knew Amy has been shooting in practice, and she finished on a high with her last 6 arrows all in the gold, 10, 10, 10, 9, 9, 9 = 57, a really strong finish which has placed her in 57th position in the qualification, and with the combined score of all three British ladies (Alison, Naomi and Amy) placed them in 11th position for the team event on Sunday.
It was only a short time after the end of the qualifying rounds that Amy text to say a technical problem with her bow (the pressure button sticking) had caused a problem with the flight of her arrows as they left the bow and when she realised what the problem was, had to change to her spare bow during the competition.
We were able to spend a few hours with Amy in the evening before the opening ceremony and she gave us the full story of how during the competition she was shooting well and felt, focused, strong and relaxed, but the arrows started to go in the red (7) and the blue (6) in different places on the target and she could not understand why. She spoke to Lloyd (Coach) and he said she looked fine, so she continued shooting and tried to figure out what was wrong by going through all the checks you do as an archer.
Finally in the middle of shooting one of the rounds of 6 arrows, Amy was about to put her fourth arrow into her bow, and for some reason pressed in pressure button and was surprised when it did not spring straight out again as it should. Amy stopped shooting immediately, while still stood on the shooting line with the other 63 archers, she attracted Lloyds attention and said, “Get my spare bow” he said, “what now “Amy replied “yes”. Lloyd picked up the spare bow and walked over and swapped bows with Amy. The 4 minutes allowed to shoot all 6 arrows was still ticking down as Amy continued to shoot her remaining 3 arrows, the first of which was gold (9) putting her mind at rest that the problem was solved.
As Amy went through the story of events it was clear that she is in a positive frame of mind. The way she described what happened and how she did not panic and just worked through her checks when she realised the problem and took immediate action, really does highlight what a true professional athlete she has become. As she said, if it’s going to happen, it better to happen in the qualification round than in the head to head elimination rounds that start on Sunday for the Ladies Team and for Amy on Wednesday for the Individual rounds.
Amy has been practicing today and everything is fine, so all ready for tomorrow and everything to play for.