Wills praises Lord's experience
July 28, 2012 13:30 pm
Archer Alan Wills described shooting at a home Olympics as the experience of a lifetime, despite the British men's team falling at the first hurdle.
Team GB had the first match of the day in front of 5,000 fans at Lord's but were off colour as they slipped to a 223-212 defeat at the hands of Ukraine. Wills, Simon Terry and Larry Godfrey were seeded eighth for the team event, one place ahead of their opponents, following Friday's ranking round.
But while the Ukrainian trio of Dmytro Hrachov, Markiyan Ivashko and reigning Olympic champion Viktor Ruban quickly settled, the home favourites had a slow start and frequently shot high.
After four ends of six arrows - or eight shots per archer over the course of the match - the British trio hit the centre gold just five times compared to Ukraine's 11.
There were also two costly sevens, one apiece from Terry and Wills. At the halfway mark Ukraine were 10 points ahead and extended that by a further point by the end, winning the match with one arrow remaining.
Wills, Terry and Godfrey had come into London 2012 with genuine medal hopes after a strong season that included World Cup gold in Turkey and a new British record in Ogden earlier this year.
But despite the disappointment of a first-round exit, Wills was buoyed by the experience of shooting in front of a lively and supportive home crowd at the historic cricket venue.
"I'm disappointed we didn't get any further but this is the most memorable archery experience I have ever had. It was absolutely unbelievable," said the 30-year-old Cumbrian.
"When I came second in the World Games in 2005, there were a few thousand people there and they were really close. That was amazing but this was just something else. I will take this to my grave - it was awesome.
"I came to Lord's to do the best I can. All the training, all the hard work, all the blood, sweat and tears over the years were all to get me to this position. Just walking out there means as much as putting a medal on you, I would have thought. I did get a little bit of nerves coming out, and butterflies, because it is so easy to mess up, but it was just unbelievable."
Copyright © Press Association Ltd. 2012, All Rights Reserved.