Archer Danielle Brown has become the first Paralympic athlete to win a medal in an able-bodied event for England in the Commonwealth Games as the women’s compound team struck gold in Delhi this morning.
In a fantastic start to the day for England, the trio of Brown, Nichola Simpson and world number one Nicky Hunt scooped their country’s seventh gold medal of the Games, falling just one point short of the world record as they beat Canada by 232 to 229. They beat Malaysia in the semi-final earlier 226 to 221.
Brown, who has reflex sympathetic dystrophy which causes chronic pain in her feet, got up from the stool she shoots from to embrace her team-mates after Hunt fired in a ten with her final arrow, assuring them of the gold.
She said: “It’s an amazing feeling I can’t put it into words. It was a phenomenal standard, we nearly broke the world record but we’ve still just won the game, such was the strength of the Canadian team.”
Asked about the significance of being the first Paralympian to win a medal for England in an able-bodied event at the Games, she said: “I’ve ever really thought of it in those terms but there’s been quite a lot of media interest, which has opened my eyes to it. I really feel part of this team, everyone’s really welcomed me.”
Brown showed an uncharacteristic loss of composure when she joined her team-mates to collect their medals and prepared to sing Jerusalem.
“I stayed up all night learning the words,” she said. “I had it down to a tee, and when I got on the podium my brain just scrambled and I couldn’t remember a thing.”
A very even match-up until the fifth round, the England women started to pull away, increasing their lead by a point in each of the last three rounds with consistently accurate loosing.
Hunt said she hadn’t realised they were so close to the Russian’s world record.
She said: “You don’t look at the scores during it, you just try and block them out. It’s a bit of a shock to find out we were so close.”
Simpson, who fired two tens with her first two arrows in the final, said it was a “great start” for England’s archers at the Games.
The men’s team will hope to hit the same form as the women when they go in their compound semi-final this afternoon.