England’s Alan Wills will go to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games as a world champion after taking gold at the FITA World Field Archery Championships in Hungary yesterday (Sunday).
The 28-year-old from Frizington in Cumbria won an all-English men’s individual recurve final, in Visegrad beating Jon Shales 54-51.
There was also a silver medal for another of England’s Delhi archers, Naomi Folkard. She went down 53-45 to Christine Bjerendal of Sweden in the women’s individual recurve final.
The field archery championships differ from those that will feature in Delhi as it involves shooting at different sized targets at different distances and at different gradients on a field course. In the Delhi competition targets will be at a uniform distance of 70m.
But Wills said his victory had given him a real boost. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” he said today (Monday). “This will give me some more confidence and it will also be really good for the team. We’ve got a really strong team.
“I was something like seventh after the first couple of qualifying rounds and I wasn’t performing up to my potential,” he said. “I decided to just give it my best and go for it, and it all came together.”
Wills said he is looking forward to competing in Delhi, where archery makes only its second appearance on the Commonwealth Games programme. “The Commonwealth Games are a once in a lifetime opportunity. Archery hasn’t been at the Commonwealth Games for 28 years and I’m really looking forward to it,” he added.
Wills competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games but just missed out on a place in the quarter-finals.
Folkard, who is 26 and from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, won a bronze medal in the World Field Archery Championships four years ago. She has competed at the last two Olympic Games.
She had to beat team-mate and fellow England team member for Delhi, Amy Oliver, in the shoot-off for a place in the semi-finals in Hungary. Oliver, from Rotherham, finished just out of the medals in fifth.