Larry Godfrey is a GB international archer who competed at the Athens and Beijing Olympics and is hoping to compete at London 2012.
The Archery GB National Series is our big domestic competition of the year – our showcase event, if you like. And for this year, it is appropriate that the tournament will take place in the glorious surroundings of Liverpool’s Speke Hall. You see, archery’s national governing body is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and the first ever Grand National Archery Society meeting was held at Liverpool’s Adelphi Hotel in 1861.
I am one of four archers taking part in the men’s recurve tournament at the Grand Final, along with my GB colleagues Simon Terry and Alan Wills, and Andrew Randall, a young lad who is having a fantastic year, and signalling his intent to challenge us for our international places. Simon is the double Grand Final champion, so I think it’s about time someone else won it. And I’m really enjoying this year, so I have Simon’s title in my sights!
Indeed, this year I’ve set 11 new personal bests, I won a World Championship bronze medal back in July, came within a whisker of making the World Cup Grand Final, and qualified for this weekend’s big event by winning three of the four qualifying tournaments I entered. Three results count towards the overall standings, so I was one of three archers who achieved maximum points to make it to Speke Hall.
Winning this weekend would be a massive boost to take into next year, probably the biggest year I’ll ever have in my sporting life, with the London Olympics my goal. I cannot start to explain what it will mean for me – for all of us, for that matter – to compete in a home Olympics, and my dedication to achieving that knows no limits!
The women’s recurve championship this weekend will be contested by the four archers who’ll be competing for three places at next year’s London Games. If Alison Williamson qualifies for the Olympics next year it will be her sixth Olympics, which would be an astonishing achievement. Like me, she has yet to win a National Series Grand Final title, so she will be as focused as ever on Sunday. But competition will be fierce with Naomi Folkard defending her title, and Amy Oliver (pictured) and Charlotte Burgess also hungry for success.
The men’s compound tournament at Speke Hall will be gripping. Liam Grimwood and Duncan Busby are both local lads, and will have friends and family cheering them on. Both will be determined to win. But Chris White is just as hungry to successfully defend his title, and Adam Ravenscroft completes a very strong line up. And in the women’s compound tournament, it really is difficult to separate Nichola Simpson, Andrea Gales, Rikki Bigham and Lucy O’Sullivan, who are all fantastic archers.
Archery is a wonderful sport, and the National Series Grand Final – which you can follow online – will reflect that. It will be a great day, in fabulous surroundings and I can’t wait to get started. Bring it on!