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Huston has appetite for double success in archery at Tokyo Olympics



Pulling power: East Belfast’s Patrick Huston is confident he can hit the target on the Olympic stage in Tokyo (Dean Alberga/Dutchtarget)

Pulling power: East Belfast’s Patrick Huston is confident he can hit the target on the Olympic stage in Tokyo (Dean Alberga/Dutchtarget)

Pulling power: East Belfast’s Patrick Huston is confident he can hit the target on the Olympic stage in Tokyo (Dean Alberga/Dutchtarget)

Beefed-up Patrick Huston says a protein-packed diet and piling on the pounds is the perfect recipe for powering past his rivals in Tokyo.

The east Belfast ace kicked off his Olympic campaign this morning in a three-strong men’s archery team with Games debutants Tom Hall (30) and James Woodgate (19).

It was a solid start for the Northern Irishman, too, as he finished 25th in the qualifying to set up a last-32 clash with Brazil's Marcus d'Almeida on Tuesday, and they start their team campaign with a quarter-final against China on Saturday.

Huston (25) fell to a last-32 defeat in the men’s individual event at Rio 2016 but is hellbent on gunning for double gold — in the individual and team events — in Japan this summer.

And he’s not taking the physical challenges of his opponents lightly, racking up the calorie count in Telford thanks to the menu served up by his fiancée Jelly — a chef at one of the town’s premier restaurants.

Meat-saturated soups, iron-fuelled salads and an infinite supply of chicken dominates the agenda and Huston hopes being the “best-fed” athlete in Tokyo can catapult him to glory.

Huston, one of over 1,000 athletes supported by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, said: “Just after the selection shoot, we had about a five or six-week period before the start of the competition season to really start putting on more meat.

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“I’m bigger than ever — I get fed so well by Jelly, I’m constantly getting bigger and I’m bigger than I’ve ever been. Archery is a skill-based sport but once you’ve got that skill, the more meat you’ve got on you the better.

“Whenever I come home for dinner I’m basically force fed — Jelly piles it high on a big plate and encourages me to eat it. I end up finishing off her plate as well.

“Archery really is a very high physical load sport. It’s not an absolute engine sport like rowing, but I’m pulling 25kg about 300 or 400 times a day, which works out as an immense tonnage going through your body.

“Having the right stuff in there to fuel and repair that really does take you to that next level. The quality and quantity of the food I get means I’ll be one of the best-fed athletes in Tokyo.”

Huston’s Tokyo mission is powered by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme that allows him to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

He finished 38th in Rio five years ago but after winning bronze in the mixed team recurve event at the 2017 World Championships is no stranger to delivering on the biggest stage.

Currently No.52 in the world, the Northern Ireland ace finished fourth at a recent World Cup event in Paris.

Archery is one of the Games’ curtain-raising sports today and traditionalist Huston is relishing the prospect of getting Team GB off to a flyer.

“We start before everybody else, which I love,” added Huston, who is hoping to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997.

“Archery is a weapon of old and they would be the first into battle. They were launching arrows before the javelins went in or the sword fighting went on.

“We’ve got tremendous depth. The standard will be great — and I want to go for double gold.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £36m each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and use the hashtags: #TNLAthletes

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