Aiming high - Stephen, 15 from Immingham has always been interested in archery and has just received the exciting news that he has been selected to play for the England Junior National Team in July, and for the Junior National Commonwealth in July and August.
It all began just over eight years ago for Stephen, just before his 8th birthday and has been taking part in local and regional competitions since 2012.
A key member to his home club, Trackside Archers situated in Caistor, Market Rasen where Stephen has played many competitions, locally and regionally has been blown away by his performance. Stephen has also represented the Lincolnshire County for the last six years and has been selected to shoot for them in the Sydney Bond for the last five consecutive years which Stephen calls ‘a great honour’.
Trackside Archery and Shooting Club is affiliated with Archery GB (GNAS), the East Midlands and Lincolnshire Archery Societies for archery, and the Lincolnshire Small Bore Rifle Association (LSRA).
Sara McLoughlin, Principal of Oasis Academy Immingham, the local school Stephen attends said; “This is a wonderful achievement and we are incredibly proud of Stephen. We know this has been a real team effort with Stephen’s family supporting all of the many car journeys to events and training opportunities. It shows that hard work pays off and if you pursue your dreams you can achieve.”
In 2017, Stephen was ranked an incredible 20th in the country in the junior recurve boys at under 18 level. He also took part in the Archery GB postal shoot for both the Summer Metrics and November Challenge for juniors and won in both for his age group.
The achievements don’t stop there for Stephen, just last year he was presented with the Sports Performance of the Year Award at his local school, Oasis Academy Immingham for exceptional sporting achievement.
Stephen is incredibly dedicated to archery and says; “My goal has always been to shoot for GB in the Olympics.”
Olympic shooting is split into three categories; shotgun, pistol and rifle and is a sport that demands exception skill, concentration and a strong mental approach.
Shooting has appeared on every Olympic program except St Louis 1904 and Amsterdam 1928 though the number and variety of events have changed many times, including live pigeons who were replaced by the clay variety after the Paris 1900 Olympic Games.
The first of two matches is the Home Nations Match on 6th July and takes place at Lilleshall Sports Centre. Stephen’s score will be included with the other seven members of the team where they will go up against Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Eire and Jersey. This match coincides with the Junior Nationals.
The second match is the Junior Commonwealth and takes place during Youth Festival Week. During this week they also shoot as a team of 4 in Head to Heads against the other Nations.