Paralympian archer hoping to repeat gold feat

Gazette Series: Paralympian archer hoping to repeat gold feat Paralympian archer hoping to repeat gold feat

A Paralympian archer is hoping to repeat his feat of scoring gold, after winning medals in the Athens and Beijing games.

John Cavanagh, 56, of West Hill, Wandsworth, will be joining the Team GB archery team next week in The Royal Artillery Barracks.

It will be his fourth Paralympic Games after the veteran player took home an individual gold medal in Athens in 2004 and individual silver in Beijing 2008.

He has been in the sport for more than 20 years and internationally for 16 years, after taking up archery during a rehabilitation programme for spinal injuries in Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The medallist trains close to home in the Royal Richmond Archery Club, Richmond and in the Malden Bowmen's club in New Malden.

He said he is looking forward to the games, but the team are not going to be used to the noise from spectators.

Mr Cavanagh said: "This year with our Olympics at home their is a lot of pressure expecting me to do well.

"One thing is there will be team spectators there, archery is one of the sports where you don't usually get spectators. It is going to be very different.

"Our coaches are playing music and simulating crowd music, that has been a help.

"It would be lovely to get up there on the podium, we all want to win a medal."

The Team GB archery team is made up of standing players and semi-ambulant players, with Mr Cavanagh shooting arrows from his wheelchair.

Their first match is on August 30, with the majority of archery players having to miss out on the opening ceremony the day before.

Archery is steeped in Paralympic history after featuring in the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, the precursor to the Paralympic Games and where Mr Cavanagh took it up.

It shot to fame during the opening ceremony for the Barcelona 1992 games when Antonio Rebello of Spain fired a flaming arrow to light the Olympic Flame.

Mr Cavanagh and the Team GB archery team are being sponsored by Foresters Friendly Mutual Society.

Visit forestersfriendlysociety.co.uk for more information.

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