Archer Bryony Pitman is adamant she won’t simply be making up the numbers in Nanjing as she prepares for the Youth Olympic Games.
The last time Pitman was in China it was for last year’s World Youth Archery Championships in Wuxi, where a 33rd-place finish was good enough to confirm Great Britain a female spot in the second Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing.
However, the 20-year-old knew that she still faced a fight on her hands as she had to win two out of three domestic head-to-head shoot-offs to confirm that spot on the 33-strong Team GB squad heading to China as her own.
It proved to be a false alarm as Pitman was the only British female with a high-enough ranking to contend the shoot-outs, meaning she booked herself a plane ticket to China with consummate ease.
However Pitman is not about to afford her rivals a similarly easy ride in Nanjing, determined to make the most of her opportunity on the big stage.
“I won the place for Great Britain at the World Youth Championships in Wuxi but I knew that I still had to go on and claim the spot for myself,” she said.
“But as it turned out I was the only British girl with a high enough score so I got the place and I was really happy with it.
“I am heading back to China wanting to win a medal or at least secure a top-four finish, but overall the experience will be a really good learning curve for me.
“It will be my first multi-sport event and that experience will set me up really well for a senior Olympics in the future hopefully.
“That is my main aim so anything I can learn and take from Nanjing that will help me to do that will be a huge help.”
Pitman is one of only two archers to be selected for Nanjing and the sole female competitor, with Bradley Denny flying the flag for British males in the Far East.
As well as individual male and female recurve competitions there is also a mixed team event, however Pitman and Denny aren’t guaranteed to join forces.
The top-finishing male will pair up with the lowest-ranked female, regardless of nationality, and so on and so forth, but whoever she ends up working with Pitman is determined to do Great Britain proud.
“Representing Great Britain is always an honour and while there are some nerves at the start it is always exciting,” she added.
“But at the end of the day it isn’t hard to block the nerves out. I am just doing something I love to do so I just have to keep calm and hopefully had some good results.”
© Sportsbeat 2014