“Phenomenal.” “Unbelievable arrows.” “A dream.” Even her own words can hardly describe Nicky Hunt’s performance in winning the women’s individual compound title at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi today.
Hunt hit an incredible 12 perfect 10s from 15 arrows to take gold in the final against Canada’s Doris Jones, falling only four points short of a maximum total. It was, indeed, phenomenal scoring.
But Hunt had to be at her very best, for Jones was also bang on target, loosing her arrows into the centre no fewer than 10 times herself in a final of the very highest quality.
Hunt won by six sets to four, scoring just one point more than her opponent in a dramatic contest that came down to a single arrow.
Needing to score 10 with her last attempt to secure victory, and avoid a single-arrow tie-break, Hunt held her nerve, and her aim, for the 39th time in the morning. The arrow arched to its target and the 25-year-old Ipswich physiotherapist held her bow aloft, a huge grin on her face, before breaking down in tears unable to believe her achievement.
“I hope I’m not dreaming,” she said, after recovering her poise. “This field’s amazing and it was a phenomenal final. Doris shot unbelievable arrows.
“I can’t put into words how much this means. I fear I’m going to wake up and find it was all a dream.”
With three arrows per set, and two set points awarded for winning a set, each archer needs six sets to win the match. Both started superbly, scoring a maximum 30 points apiece to share one set-point each.
Hunt then slipped 3-1 behind, scoring 27 with her next three arrows, as Jones hit 10, 10, 9 to add 29 to her total.
But the English ace steadied herself for the third and fourth sets – steady and true, in fact, as she loosed six perfect arrows in a row to go 5-3 ahead.
Now she just needed to match her opponent’s 9, 10, 10 on the fifth and final set to gain the required sixth set point. Hunt scored 10, 9, 10 to add a second gold to the team compound title she won two days ago.
“Two gold medals is more than I could ever have hoped for,” she said. “I’m sure it will sink in over the next few days but at the moment it just doesn’t feel real.”
The world number two was is in unreal form all day. She scored 113 to beat Fatin Mat Salleh of Malaysia in her quarter-final before dispatching Danielle Brown’s quarter-final conquerer Fiona Hyde in the semi-final when she fired eight 10s and four 9s.
Brown lost to the Australian Hyde in a shoot-off after level-pegging for five sets.
“It all came down to one arrow,” said Brown. “It didn’t go the way I wanted but I’m still proud of my effort in the competition.
“That’s me finished but I’m determined to enjoy the rest of my time here,” she added.
The archers plan to visit the Taj Mahal, she revealed, while Brown has her eye on her boyfriend, Ali Jawad, who competes in the 55kg para-sport powerlifting event.
She said: “It’s been a great experience and I am delighted for Nicky.”