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Phillip Bottomley has shot at Paralympic archery gold
Anyone who competed at the 2012 Olympics will tell you that in order to gain success you have to be able to handle pressure.
And Bradford’s Phillip Bottomley could have a couple of advantages when it comes to competing in the London Paralympics.
For starters the 53-year-old competed in the test event at Woolwich Barracks earlier this year, coming fourth.
Bottomley said: “I scored 625, and anything over 600 is good.”
And secondly, as his mother Marian points out: “He used to be stationed there in the Royal Artillery.”
After leaving the army, Bottomley lost a leg in a workplace accident in September 2000 and took up archery as part of his rehabilitation programme.
He moved near Utrecht in the Netherlands, became a Dutch citizen and competed for them from 2002 under the guidance of coach Tom Bill, taking part in two World Championships and reaching a ranking of world No 4 in the men’s recurve.
Bottomley came eighth outdoors in the World Championships in Italy in 2005 and 11th in the European Championships in 2006, both indoors and out.
However, he switched allegiance to the country of his birth in 2008 after what Bottomley described as a “nasty comment” from a Dutch team-mate.
“After that I wanted to compete for Great Britain,” he said.
Former Tong High School pupil Bottomley, who made his British debut at the 2009 World Championships in Nymburk in the Czech Republic, had his international prospects boosted by winning the recurve standing men’s class at the Arizona Cup in Phoenix in April 2010.
He then won a silver medal in the men’s recurve team event at the European Championships in France later that year alongside Paul Browne and Kenny Allen, and also came seventh in the men’s recurve event at Stoke Mandeville.
Bottomley, who, like the rest of the British archery team are backed by the Foresters Friendly Society, has also just received a specially adapted wheelchair.
He explained: “You might need to go 70 metres to collect your arrows. That is all right over a smooth surface but not over a cow field for example.”
Bottomley hasn’t been overdoing his preparation either, saying: “I normally shoot 150 arrows a day, depending on the weather, but at the moment I am only shooting about 50.”
So will Bottomley be affected by nerves?
He said: “There was a small crowd at the test event but there could be a capacity of 5,000 at the Paralympics. They couldn’t use Lord’s as they did for the Olympics as it is needed for cricket.
“I’ve been lucky enough to go to World Championships and won medals at the highest level but nothing beats the Paralympic Games, especially with them being in London this year.
“But qualifying is just the start. Being a part of it will be a wonderful experience and there’s going to be a tremendous atmosphere. But I’m in a tournament and I’m not just there to make up the numbers.”
In the crowd supporting Bottomley tomorrow in the men’s individual recurve standing ranking round at Woolwich Barracks will be his mum and his sister Maria.
His mum, who admitted to being “very proud” of her son, added: “If he can keep his calm, he should be all right.
“I think I would be nervous.
“You don’t know how many people will be at Woolwich to watch but he wants to get up on the podium.”