Crunch time for Olympic hopeful

Andrew Randall, Derwent Bowmen Archery Club
Andrew Randall, Derwent Bowmen Archery Club
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HOPE Valley archery ace Andrew Randall has his sights firmly set on representing his country at the 2012 London Olympics.

A superb run of form in the last six months has seen the 19-year-old member of Darley Bridge-based Derwent Bowmen Archery Club make it onto the longlist of 12 or 13 people for the Team GB archery squad.

A busy winter of training at the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall, Shropshire, lies ahead for the former Hope Valley College and Lady Manners School pupil, now studying at the University of Nottingham, with the only cloud on the horizon being whether his faithful old car will survive the punishing schedule of hundreds and hundreds of miles of travelling per week.

Andrew, from Bamford, believes he has a very real chance of achieving his dream and representing his country at the Olympics.

He explained: “I’ve made it onto the long list and it all depends on how I shoot in the next six months. Without wishing to sound arrogant, I have as good a chance as anyone of making that squad of three, plus one reserve. I’ve been training with the GB coach Lloyd Brown for the past year, working on technique.”

“Although I think realistically 2016 is probably more likely, there’s still a good chance for 2012.

“It all comes down to performance over the next few months. Obviously, older squad members with a couple of Olympics under their belt and more experience will stand a good chance, but if I keep up the form of the few months, who knows?”

A superb performance at the National Series Final in the summer was probably the performance that, more than anything, made people sit up and take notice of Andrew’s talent at a national level.

“I found form at the right time and have really pushed on. I think the National Series Final was the one where it clicked and got me noticed because I beat the number one ranked guy in Great Britain (number seven in the world) in a first round head-to-head.

“I lost eventually to the number two ranked guy in the final but along the way beat two members of the GB 2008 Olympic team.”

The transport problem is one that needs addressing though, and he is hoping an interested party could provide sponsorship or a car dealership might be able to lend a helping hand.

He explained: “A typical week sees me drive to Telford on a Tuesday, stay over in a hotel, then there’s all day training on a Wednesday at Lilleshall, back to Nottingham for Thursday, then back home to Hope Valley for hopefully some more shooting most of the weekend.

“Even if I only go down there once a week, you’re talking 400-500 miles a week, sometimes I go twice, in my V-reg Ford KA. I don’t think it was meant to do this much motorway driving and it’s really taking some punishment.

“So I’d hate to think that my car would end up costing me if it started letting me down in the winter months, particularly if it’s as bad a winter as last year.

“If I miss a training session or two and they’re looking at biomechanics or technique, that could really set me back so if any car dealers can help me out or provide sponsorship, I’d be really grateful.”

Anyone who thinks they may be able to help out a potential 2012 Olympian can call Andrew on 07500 931808.