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Warrington's Paralympic archers start their bid for London 2012 gold
8:35pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in Sport
A FRUSTRATED John Stubbs was Team GB’s highest-placed archer in the Paralympic ranking rounds at Royal Artillary Barracks, where he finished fourth in the men’s Individual Compound (Open).
Stubbs began the defence of his Beijing title by scoring 669 points, 16 behind leader Matt Stutzman of the United States.
The rankings determine which archers will go head-to-head in the elimination matches, which start on Friday.
The Woolston-based bowman broke a Paralympic record to take gold four years ago and was ranked no. 2 in the world going into the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
But he found the conditions difficult on a blustery day in south east London.
“It’s been very difficult today, very tricky shooting and fair play to the guys in the top three positions,” said the 47 year old, who now has a bye in the first elimination round but is then likely to face a difficult opponent in the following stage.
“I finished fourth and still feel I’m in contention, although I’ll now have to meet an archer who will have won in the previous round,” he said.
“I’ve been shooting very well recently and only two or three weeks ago I won my last competition.”
Despite feeling a little below par on day one, Stubbs remains optimistic of defending his title on home soil.
“Being on home turf I’d like to think that the support that British competitors get will be like a 13th man to us. I hope the public here at the archery gets behind us.
“There's no pressure being defending champion as there’s a four year gap between the Games, but I’d like to think I could make it a double. My immediate aim now is to make sure I’m still in the competition come Monday.”
Stubbs’ partner and fellow archer Leigh Walmsley was also in action, ranking 18th in the women’s Individual Recurve (Standing) with a score of 467 on her Paralympic debut.
The 43-year-old’s teammates Kate Murray and Sharon Vennard ranked eighth and sixth in their respective events to give Britain’s women’s Recurve team a rank of sixth overall.
Warrington’s other Paralympic athletes are not in action until Saturday, when Niki Birrell will start his bid for Sailing gold in race one of the Two person Keelboat and Gemma Prescott will compete in the Women’s Club Throw at the Olympic Stadium at 10am.