Vote for Jess Stretton as IPC Athlete of the Month

Jessica Stretton, the gold medallist in the women’s W1 competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, increased her own world record for the 72-arrow 50-metre ranking round by seven points to 656 out of a possible 720 during qualification at the third Fazza International Para Archery Competition in Dubai.

Stretton had set the previous record of 649 points at the same event one year prior.

The public has until Thursday 9 February to vote for their Allianz Athlete of the Month for January 2017.

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Stretton, just 16 years old and the youngest archer in the competition in her first Paralympics, led a British trio, with Jo Frith and Vicky Jenkins, that swept the individual podium at the Games in Brazil.

Born with cerebral palsy, GB’s para archer got involved in archery through a Wheelpower Junior Games camp she attended in 2012. She is now juggling her sporting aspirations with General Certificate of Secondary Education studies.

Jess claimed her first ever archery gold medal at her first attempt, aged 14, at the IWAS World Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville in August 2014. Since then, she has climbed the podium at every international tournament she’s competed.

After winning individual gold at two para world ranking tournaments in 2015 – in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic – she claimed bronze at the World Archery Para Championships held in Donaueschingen, Germany a few months later.

Jessica started 2016 on a high by setting a new world record and claiming silver at the Fazza International Para Championships in Dubai. She then finished second at the Europeans Para Archery Championships in France and won gold at the Czech Target for the second year in a row.

Arriving in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Stretton was top of the para world ranking in the new women’s W1 division. At 16, she was the youngest para archer on the Rio field.

“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,” Stretton said.

The nominations for the Allianz Athlete of the Month are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees and International Federations.