Archery champion Patrick Huston targets 2016 Olympics
Patrick Huston received a hero's welcome after shooting back home to Belfast City Airport last night, proudly wearing two gold medals won at the World Archery Youth Championships in China.
The 17-year-old's stunning achievement marks him down as one of Ulster's brightest prospects for the 2016 Olympics and beyond.
Also arriving back from China last night were Huston's fellow Team GB colleagues Rebecca Lennon (15), who won a bronze, and Jordan Mitchell (19) who was desperately unlucky to miss out on a medal when edged out in a play-off. Huston, from Belfast, won individual gold – beating Kazakhstan's Sanzhar Mussayerby in the final – and also took top spot in mixed doubles in which he was partnered by England's Becky Martin.
"We are so proud of Patrick and what he has achieved," said the archer's father Adrian Huston.
"Rebecca and Jordan did superbly well too. All three have a very bright future in the sport."
Huston became involved in archery as an eight-year-old at Campbell College under the guidance of Audrey Needham, a former Commonwealth longbow champion, and now helps coach other pupils.
He is now in his final year at school and then intends to take a gap year before going to university.
But the Rio Olympics are very much occupying his mind at the moment.
"That would be his ultimate ambition. He will need to compete regularly in international events and obviously that requires financial backing," explained the archer's dad.
"Patrick is backed by the Mary Peters Trust and he also has a very loyal sponsor in Simon Eastop of SDE Decorators in Ballyclare. Simon came on board in 2011 and has stuck with us all the way so hopefully this is some reward for the faith he has shown in Patrick.
"Team GB want Patrick to attend their training centre at Lilleshall on a regular basis, at least about once a month. I know the Team GB coaches are very pleased with Patrick's progress.
"It's now up to Patrick to try and push on and nail down a place on the team for Rio 2016. He is very focused on making it to the Olympics.
"No matter what happens he will always be able to say he has been world champion but there are so many more things he wants to achieve in the sport.
"But of course travelling to different competitions around the world is expensive and we would welcome other sponsors on board."
The other two Ulster archers in China with Team GB can be very pleased with their performances as well.At just 15, the sky is very much the limit for Banbridge girl Rebecca Lennon, while Larne archer Jordan Mitchell has plenty of potential as well. Team GB collected three medals, with Northern Ireland archers to the fore in each.
Archery GB chairman David Harrison said: "A huge well done to Patrick, Becky and all our archers in China. Two gold and a bronze – we are really proud of the team."