British pair takes first world para title at Donaueschingen 2015

Jo Frith and John Walker of Great Britain claimed the first gold medal at the World Archery Para Championships in the W1 mixed team competition, with victory over China 138-136 in Donaueschingen.

The British pair was behind by a single point after 12 of 16 arrows, but held their nerve against Guo Ying and Han Guifei, posting a score of 35 for the last end and taking the win by two.

Frith and Walker were delighted that their long hours of preparation for the worlds was rewarded.

“It’s absolutely amazing. It’s nice to know all that hard work has paid off,” said Frith. “It was quite nerve-racking. I don’t think I can quite believe it at the moment.”

Both Brits said they didn’t shoot their best in the gold medal match, but were happy with victory in the finals arena, nonetheless.

The lead changed hands at every end in a close affair, but the British archers shot well when it seemed to matter.

“We didn’t shoot as well as we can, but it was a matchplay situation and we got through it,” Frith explained.

Both she and Walker compete for individual gold on Sunday in Donaeuschingen. The opportunity to get accustomed to the finals field for the mixed competition was not lost on the pair – though the atmosphere, shooting as part of a team, is different.

“You have to work together as a team,” said Walker.

“If one of us is not shooting at our best, the other has to try and carry them though those harder moments. It is good shooting with a teammate as the pressure is shared between the team. The atmosphere is fantastic. You try to enjoy the big moments and not feel any pressure.”

Mixed team competition will feature at its first Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016.

Arriving in Brazil as reigning world champions won’t, Walker said, add any extra pressure – but sharpen the Brit’s resolve instead.

“I am looking forward to Rio and trying to add the Paralympic gold to our world championship success,” Walker finished.

In the compound open mixed team gold medal match, the results were reversed, as Chinese pair Lin Yueshan and Cao Hanwen took revenge on the British squad, defeating Mel Clarke and John Stubbs.