Fine margins of archery a battle to overcome for Paralympian Phillips

Phillips (right) knows what he needs to do at next year's Paralympic Games

Paralympic archer Dave Phillips admits he is gunning for revenge in Tokyo next summer after missing out by just a centimetre at Rio 2016.

After ties in both the mixed team quarter-final and a shoot-off, the 53-year-old and partner Tania Nadarajah were defeated by eventual silver-medallists Iran on the distance of the arrows from the centre of the target.

Three years on and with the British team having already secured five Paralympic quota spots thanks to their World Championship performances, Phillips is now eager to add the missing medal to his collection.

“We missed out by the smallest of margins, but it was such a close match and there really was nothing between us,” said the Cwmbran athlete.

“I absolutely want to go to the Paralympics and medal – you have to have positivity and the mental ability to go out there and achieve.

“At the moment I’m at the top of my game and I’ve had the opportunity to go out to Tokyo and see the venue and the archery field so nothing will be new when I get there.”

Success at the next year’s Games would mark the pinnacle of Phillips’ archery career, having joined the GB World Class Programme in 2014, two years after retiring from work.

Having enjoyed success with a bow and arrow back in his youth, a return to archery has certainly yielded plenty for Phillips – though he knows how lucky is he to be back competing in the sport he loves.

He said: “I shot between the ages of 13-17 to quite a high standard and was involved with the British youth squad without making the team.

“Archery was put on the back burner when I started working and had a family, but when I retired – having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1996 – my wife suggested I gave it another go.

“I progressed really quickly, and it’s enabled me to visit so many different countries and experience some fantastic opportunities.

“I’ve won three medals at the European Para Championships, but it’d be brilliant if I could go and build on that.”

Ahead of next summer’s Paralympics, one of the more immediate dates in Phillips’ diary is next month’s National Tour Finals at Caldicot Castle in Monmouthshire.

Having finished the able-bodied competition in sixth-place last year, the Welshman is hoping for further success at a venue close to home.

He said: “It’s an amazing chance to shoot at a beautiful venue that’s so near to where I’m from – my son only lives 12 yards up the road from the castle!

“I know I’m up there with the best in the country and it would be tremendous to medal or win the competition.

“Following that we’re doing some training in Dubai next year and we’ll be doing some work with floodlights to replicate possible scenarios in Tokyo to make sure we’re fully prepared – I can’t wait for it all to get going!”

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