Belfast Telegraph

Confident teenager Patrick has sights fixed on Olympics and World glory

By Steven Beacom

Patrick Huston is a young man with big targets in mind. In every sense.

The 19-year-old from Belfast is representing Team GB at the World Archery Championships which start in Copenhagen tomorrow and finish on August 2.

Patrick has already won multiple world titles at junior level but this is the first time he has competed in the senior event.

In Denmark's capital, glory on the world stage isn't just up for grabs... so too is a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Daunted by the prospect? Far from it... the former Campbell College pupil is embracing and relishing the challenge.

Not only is he an extremely gifted exponent of the archery craft, he is filled with confidence. Good qualities to have when you are taking on the best on the planet.

Patrick's self belief was evident at the 2013 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards when he collected the Young Sports Star of the Year prize having won two gold medals at the World Archery Youth Championships in China.

The great and the good of Northern Ireland sport were in attendance but the teenager showed no nerves with one off the most mature and assured acceptance speeches ever heard at the glittering ceremony.

On what lies ahead in Copenhagen, he says: "I have competed in four World Championships so far in my career but those were all in junior categories. This will be my first senior World Championships and I am over the moon about it.

"It will be the biggest World Archery Championships ever held so the standard will be ridiculous, but that just gives me even more drive to perform.

"The main aim of this World Championships is to qualify for Olympic places in Rio next year. The Archery GB team can do this by coming in the top eight in the team event or subsequently coming in the top 16 individually.

"I want to make sure that as an individual I stand out and perform well. I have already won three world titles and a fourth is set in my sights.

"I do well under pressure and actually shoot better, so I relish the opportunity to prove myself at this level."

Ask Patrick what his ultimate dream is and he is not shy in aiming high.

"My aim in archery is very simple; to be the best archer in the world," he states.

"I compete in three forms of archery - indoor and outdoor target and field archery.

"I want to medal internationally in each of these categories. I want to be known in history as one of the best archers of my era, though I know that it will be a very difficult task."

Huston has shot at a host of senior events around the globe from Nimes in France to the Las Vegas shoot where he secured top 10 places. The World Championships though present his biggest test yet.

Most of us think we could be as accurate as Robin Hood, but people like Patrick are at a different level when it comes to hand/eye co-ordination.

"The skill is allowing yourself to switch off and let your computer/mind run the process, making sure you put that arrow in the middle," he says.

He has come a long way from starting out as an eager eight-year-old back in Belfast.

Recalling how his love of the sport began, Houston recalls: "A British longbow champion called Aud Needham came to Cabin Hill, now Campbell College Junior School, and started an archery club.

"I went along on the first day, along with almost the whole school. I remember only being able to shoot three arrows in the whole afternoon. Thankfully I stayed on and became a regular in the club. Aud runs the club in Campbell College too and I stayed with her the whole way through secondary school."

While Aud may have been his initial inspiration, this positive and mannerly young man says he has many others to thanks including the Northern Ireland Archery Society, Kevin Bloomfield, Hazel Campbell, Damien Lennon and Frank Mulligan, all influential figures in the sport here, plus his sponsor Simon Eastop of SDE Decorators in Ballyclare, who has been with him from the early success.

Not forgetting his proud parents, who will be cheering their boy on in Copenhagen.

Asked if he felt like a trailblazer for archery in Northern Ireland, Patrick says: "Just a year or two ago I was competing every weekend at home.

"It is July and I've been away seven times already this year so it shows people from Northern Ireland can compete in archery on a global stage.

"My hope is that I can inspire others in Northern Ireland to train hard and shoot to the best of their ability."

Belfast Telegraph

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