WITH a European Championship medal around her neck and a world record in the bag, archer Chloe Ball remains on course to achieve her target of competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
The 18-year-old from Kingswood, near Wotton-under-Edge, finished third in the Compund/Recurve W1 category at the European Para-Archery Championships at Nottwill in Switzerland earlier this month to finish a breakthrough season with the Archery GB squad in style.
Ball, who trains with Cleve Archers in Chipping Sodbury, recorded a personal best score of 628 out of 720 in the ranking round, beating her previous top score of 614 to be placed second out of four, but she narrowly lost 126-124 to fellow Brit Vicky Jenkins in the semi-final before winning the bronze medal match 126-114 against Russian Elena Krutova.
She secured her place in the team after going through Archery GB’s W1 Talent Project and she felt the experience she gained from the Para Grand Prix in Czech Republic and her first international event in Bangkok, where she won gold and silver medals, stood her in good stead for the biggest competition of her young career so far.
Ball said: “Everything I learnt in the two previous competitions helped. The setup was all the same and then it’s just in your head really because the European Championships were the next step up.
“I try to think of it as doing the same thing at home and at training. You do naturally feel nervous at times but that helps me in a way and I used that to my advantage.
“The scores I have been getting are my targets for Rio so hopefully I can re-evaluate for the next couple of years.”
Ball’s preparations for the European Championships went well as she broke world records for ranking rounds and head-to-head W1 women scores in the Cleve Summer FITA at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex.
Although her ranking round score of 614 was beaten in Switzerland by Jo Frith, who went on to win the gold medal, the former wheelchair racer still holds the head-to-head record after shooting 138 out of a possible 150.
Ball said: “I just got a new bow so I was just trying to settle in with my new bow before the European Championships and it went well.”
The next big target on the road to Rio for Ball is the World Championships in Germany next year.