Ulster teens on verge of archery medal haul at world championships
Published 18/10/2013 | 01:30
Three Ulster archers are on the brink of glory at the World Archery Youth Championships in Wuxi, China.
Patrick Huston (17), Jordan Mitchell (19) and Rebecca Lennon (15) are part of a nine-strong Great Britain team and all three are on the verge of clinching medals.
Huston is going for gold in Sunday's individual and mixed finals. The Belfast archer is partnered in the mixed by England's Becky Martin.
Mitchell and Lennon – from Larne and Banbridge respectively – have showdowns tomorrow, when they contest bronze medal matches.
Then attention will turn to Huston's two tilts for gold on Sunday.
"The three local archers have done really well over in China," said Adrian Huston, Patrick's father.
"Patrick started taking part in the sport at Campbell College at the age of eight under the guidance of Audrey Needham, who is a former Commonwealth Lady Longbow Champion.
"Audrey has helped Patrick develop over the years and now he helps her coach the younger kids at Campbell," added Adrian.
"His ultimate ambition would be to compete in the Olympics, hopefully Rio in 2016.
"He's in his final year at school and will then take a gap year before university, allowing him to compete in various international competitions.
"It's a great sport for kids to be involved in. It requires absolute dedication. Technical skills and muscle strength are very important.
"Patrick has always loved archery and thrives under pressure.
"In competition, the archers are only a few inches apart so it is very important – though perhaps not all that easy – to retain your focus."
Patrick qualified for the Northern Ireland team way back in October 2010 and the following July won the British Indoor Championships, equalling the British Record of 594/600.
Last year he qualified for the World Field Archery Championships with Team GB, finishing eighth.
Patrick followed that by winning the senior category of the Irish Indoor Open.
He also won the U18 British Indoor Championships.
This has been a big year for the Belfast youngster.
He was ranked eighth in the Seoul Olympic Archery Festival.
In the European Field Archery Championships, he qualified in first position breaking two British records and also collected team bronze.
The East Belfast Archery Club ace also won the U20 European Championships.
Ulster's two bronze medal hopefuls Jordan and Rebecca have also had a great 2013.
Jordan, of Muckamore Company of Archers, took silver in the Individual European Junior Cup in Romania, bronze with the GB Junior Team at the same event as well as bronze with the GB Junior Mixed Team.
Rebecca, of Ballyvally Archery Club, this year qualified for her first International Tournament, the European Junior Cup in Romania.
She is the Northern Ireland U16 target champion, Scottish Open U18 Field Champion and Northern Ireland U16 Indoor Champion.
Rebecca record at her first national competition and was selected for the GB compound squad.
All three Ulster archers have been helped to the top by very supportive families.
And all three are hoping to arrive back in Belfast on Monday sporting medals.