Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Paralympics: Vennard hails amazing crowd after bowing out of archery

Greyabbey archer Sharon Vennard bowed out of the women’s individual recurve at the quarter-final stage yesterday losing in straight sets, 6-0, to Yan Huilian from China at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Vennard has osteoarthritis, which causes her constant pain, but since taking up the sport in 1996 she has become one of the top archers in the country.

“I know I lost badly but the crowd was amazing. I've never shot in front of so many people. It really was 'surround-crowd’,” she said.

“I'm really looking forward to the team round on Wednesday. I'm one of only two Northern Ireland athletes in Team GB, so I'm very proud to have got this far.”

In the velodrome on Saturday, visually impaired cyclist James Brown, from Portaferry, and his sighted pilot Damien Shaw finished in ninth position in the 1km time trial in 1.07.979.

Brown said: “We are happy with our performance, we got a PB, you can’t ask for much more. It was great experience racing in front of the crowd again.”

Armagh’s Eilish Byrne produced a superb performance for Ireland to finish fifth in the dressage individual test at Greenwich Park.

Riding her horse Youri the 47 year-old, who has spina bifida, scored 73.429 with the gold going to Great Britain’s Natasha Baker on 76.857.

“To have done so well is quite emotional for me,” said Byrne. “Youri is 16 years old and will be retiring after this competition. This score is also a personal best for me, all the more reason why I can’t stop crying.”