European golds for GB archers ahead of Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

PUBLISHED: 16:05 18 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:05 18 April 2016

Jo Frith and John Walker receive the W1 mixed team gold medal at the European Para-Archery Championships. Picture by Thierry Quehen

Jo Frith and John Walker receive the W1 mixed team gold medal at the European Para-Archery Championships. Picture by Thierry Quehen

Thierry QUEHEN -

An archer who took up the sport after being inspired by the London 2012 Paralympic Games has just won gold at the European Para-Archery Championships.

Just five months before the Paralympic Games in Rio, Welwyn Garden City’s John Walker, alongside teammate Jo Frith, secured a W1 mixed team gold medal.

The 41-year-old was inspired by American Matt Stutzman shooting at the Paralympics in 2012 and decided to take up the sport for himself.

Walker progressed through Archery GB’s W1 Talent Project in order to be selected for the squad in early 2014.

He then won a gold medal in the W1 mixed team class at the Para world-ranking event in Almere, Holland in May 2015, with Frith.

Then at the World Archery Para Championships in 2015 he won another mixed team gold with Jo, as well as an individual silver medal.

Walker now lives in Newport, Shropshire to be closer to training facilities.

The Europeasn event in France proved successful for the GB team as they came second out of 31 countries in the overall medals standing, winning three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

Michael Peart, Paralympic coach at Archery GB, said: “We had high hopes for the team travelling to France and they certainly met expectations.

“There was a fantastic level of shooting overall at the tournament and it is testament to both the team and individual medallists that they saw off the competition and secured a great medal haul, especially in such challenging weather conditions.

“With less than six months until the Paralympic Games it is vital that our archers have the opportunity to practice competing in a high pressured environment and there was a great level of focus throughout the squad.

“We hope to build on everything that we’ve learned during the tournament and use this to hone the team’s skills in the build-up to Rio.”

The final selection shoot for athletes aiming to get their name on the team-sheet for ParalympicsGB will take place in early June and the selected athletes will subsequently be announced by the British Paralympic Association.

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