Williamson to draw on experience in London

09 May 2012 / 17:24

Alison Williamson is hoping her 20 years of Olympic experience can help Team GB at London 2012 after she was selected for a record-equalling sixth Games.

The 40-year-old, who competed in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing, will become only the third Briton to compete in six summer Olympics - joining Tessa Sanderson (javelin) and Bill Hoskyns (fencing) - after she was unveiled in a maximum six-person team at Lord's on Wednesday.

She narrowly failed to seal an automatic place at the final selection shoot in Lilleshall last month, but there was little doubt she would claim the final discretionary spot in the women's team alongside Amy Oliver and Naomi Folkard.

Alan Wills was nominated by performance director Sara Symington and head coach Lloyd Brown to join automatic picks Larry Godfrey and Simon Terry in the men's team. Each of the six archers had to come through a testing three-round selection process, but it is Williamson's story which most readily captures the imagination.

She had her first taste of Olympic action in 1992 and 12 years later claimed a bronze medal in Athens. Disappointment followed in an underwhelming Beijing tournament but she is delighted to have stayed at the top of her game long enough to be part of London 2012.

"A while ago I wrote myself a sheet of paper, a list of goals and a list of commitments I'd make," she said. "On it I wrote 'If I make it I will be the third Briton to have done this'. That motivated me. I had it pinned to the kitchen wall.

"I'm so thrilled and proud to make it to my sixth Olympics. It makes all the sacrifices and all of the hard work over the years worthwhile. This is the ultimate event that every athlete aspires to and to be there six times is just amazing.

"I was one of the youngest on the team in 1992 and now I'm the oldest. I see someone like Amy coming through for her first Games and I hope I can help her in some way and make it easier for her.

"Obviously it's a home Games so it's that much more special than the others and my Mum and Dad are here volunteering too. It just doesn't get any better."

Reflecting on the secret of her longevity, Williamson declared herself fortunate to contest a discipline that rewards experience. She said: "I'm fortunate to be involved in a sport where I don't have to retire at 25."