British women sweep the podium in archery final

Gold medal is taken by 16-year-old Jessica Stretton as she defeats team-mate on stellar day for British Para archery. 17 Sep 2016
Aerial view of a big stadium in a city
Aerial view of the Sambodromo, the venue for para-archery at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
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World Archery for the IPC

Great Britain completed a clean sweep in the W1 women’s archery competition on Saturday (17 September) – including gold for the youngest athlete on the field.

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Stretton beat British teammate Jo Frith by 13 points, 137-124, while Vicky Jenkins took bronze in the category, which is new to the Paralympics.

“It feels just amazing. We’ve had a podium like this in international competition before and it’s just the most amazing feeling ever,” said gold medallist Stretton.

“I was pretty nervous, I felt like I was taking a step for the youth that can be in para sport and showing them that it can be done and it will be done.”

It is only the second time in history that an archery podium has been swept at the Paralympic Games.

Frith added that the trio had hoped to achieve the three-medal feat before arriving in Rio.

And she lauded the performance of Jenkins, who had been in hospital for a number of days prior to competition.

“I’ve got a neurological problem. I couldn’t move and I was in more pain than usual. It was really chronic pain. The doctors here did everything they could and in the end it was getting pretty serious so they sent me off to the hospital for about two days,” Jenkins explained.

“And then we came this morning to see whether I could pull my bow back and to see whether I could shoot. It looked okay and not too painful. And so I just went for it really.”

Jenkins was seeded fifth after the ranking round and upset China’s Lu Liang, ranked number four, in the quarterfinals. She then lost to Stretton in the semis before taking a dramatic win over Korean athlete Kim Ok Geum for bronze.

The Brit was four points up heading into the last two arrows of the match, when she shot a four – which levelled things up and effectively created a tiebreak situation.

Kim finished with an eight – then Jenkins shot a nine to take the match and medal, 125-124.

“It was amazing; the crowd’s been amazing cheering and everything. There are a lot of people here and I’m really enjoying it,” Jenkins said.