Archers study art of noise

23 July 2012 / 20:29

Team GB's archers do not expect crowd noise to be a problem when they compete at Lord's - thanks to the efforts of a thousand school children.

The British women's team were unhappy at the conduct of home fans in the Commonwealth Games final in Delhi two years ago, criticising the chanting and cheering that took place while they shot. And with 5,000 fans up seated up close and personal at specially erected stands at the home of cricket, there are sure to be plenty of potential distractions again.

The noise this time will be in support of the host nation - who have been steeled for the experience by some inventive tactics at the final Olympic selection shoot.

Primary school students were bussed in to Lilleshall to provide a challenging environment and the experiment has had the desired effect.

Naomi Folkard, who already has two Olympic appearances under her belt, said: "Some of the training we've done with noise has been beyond bearable but we were still able to shoot well so I think it's not going to be a problem at all this time.

"Even if we went back to Delhi now it wouldn't be a problem. At Lord's I think the supporters will have a better etiquette anyway and most people will be supporting us. We know everyone there wants us to do our best and I think that can help us."

Alison Williamson, who is taking part in a British record-equalling sixth Games, added: "At the final selection shoot we had local kids coming from in playing drums and tambourines, blowing whistles.

"We had 1,000 kids from the local area coming in and on the invitation letter it said 'please make as much noise as possible, especially when the archer is at full draw'. I had an eight-year-old child screaming at the top of their lungs when I was about to shoot...I may have given them a little look."

Williamson, an ever present in GB colours since her debut in Barcelona 20 years ago, is also looking forward to challenging for another medal to add to the bronze she picked up at Athens in 2004.

In Beijing four years ago she and Folkard, along with Charlotte Burgess, just missed out on third place in the team event - a bitter memory she is still motivated by. "Coming fourth in Beijing was gut-wrenching and it took a long time for me to get my head round it and accept it," said the 40-year-old.