British W1 women sweep Paralympic podium

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Stretton beat British teammate Jo Frith in the final of the W1 women’s competition at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro by 13 points, 137-124. Vicky Jenkins took bronze in the category, which is new to the Paralympics, completing a clean sweep of the podium for Great Britain.

“It feels just amazing. We’ve had a podium like this in international competition before and it’s just the most amazing feeling ever,” said gold medallist Stretton.

“I was pretty nervous, I felt like I was taking a step for the youth that can be in para sport and showing them that it can be done and it will be done.”

It is only the second time in history that an archery podium has been swept at the Paralympic Games. The first was in the recurve men’s standing competition at London 2012, when all three medals were won by Russia.

Frith added that the trio had hoped to achieve the three-medal feat before arriving in Rio. 

She lauded the performance of Jenkins, who had been in hospital for the a number of days prior to competition.

“I’ve got a neurological problem. I couldn’t move and I was in more pain than usual. It was really chronic pain. The doctors here did everything they could and in the end it was getting pretty serious so they sent me off to the hospital for about two days,” Jenkins explained.

And then we came this morning to see whether I could pull my bow back and to see whether I could shoot. It looked okay and not too painful. And so I just went for it really.”

Jenkins was seeded fifth after the ranking round and upset China’s Lu Liang, ranked number four, in the quarterfinals. She then lost to Stretton in the semis before taking a dramatic win over Korean athlete Kim Ok Geum for bronze.

The Brit was four points up heading into the last two arrows of the match, when she shot a four – which levelled things up and effectively created a tiebreak situation.

Kim finished with an eight – then Jenkins shot a nine to take the match and medal, 125-124.

“It was amazing, the crowd’s been amazing cheering and everything. There are a lot of people here and I’m really enjoying it,” Jenkins said.

The para archery competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games runs 10-17 September in the Sambodromo.