Posted: Mon, 28 Aug 2017 10:44
As one of our GO GOLD Ambassadors, Lizzie Warner has quite a bit of responsibility. In effect, she's what a number of young athletes look up to, having come through the GO GOLD process.
But soon enough, there could be a whole new set of ambitious eyes looking to follow in the young Archers path towards elite sport. For Warner is destined for big things, especially considering her pretty VIP visit to Rio last summer.
"I was injured in the winter of 2015-2016 and hadn't fully recovered by the start of the summer season, so I didn't quite make it into the GB team but I was the non-travelling reserve. I did get to go to Rio to the Olympic Games though, through British Olympic Association's Ambition Programme. This was to give potential Olympians in 2020 experience of the Olympic Games at first hand. I was the only female archer selected."
Warner's progression up to the brink of the Team GB Olympic squad is something to be extremely proud of, considering she's been doing the sport for less than 10 years. Having first picked up a bow and arrow when she was eight, Warner has since gone on to reach the pinnacle of Junior Archery.
"I've had a lot of success in the last 8 months. I've won both the junior and senior indoor national titles. I won a bronze medal shooting for the GB Junior team at the European Indoor Championships in France; I shot for GB in the Europa Youth Cup in Croatia after winning the selection shoots and won the under 18 national outdoor title, the 5th consecutive year I've won an outdoor age-group title. I've been shooting mainly as a senior this season and have been successful there too. In the National Series, I came 3rd and 2nd in the first two stages and 2nd in the sixth and last, beating British number 1 Naomi Folkard in the semi-final. This gave me a place in the Grand National Series Final in Birmingham in September, after ranking 3rd. I also came close to winning a place on the senior GB team for the World Championships in Mexico after doing well in the selection shoot."
Archery is something that might not be the easiest to get into – not many local leisure centres really offer weekly sessions. And if it wasn't for her family, Warner may never have got involved in the sport.
"I started archery when I was 8 years old. My Dad and brother were already shooting at Kirby Muxloe Archery Club. I liked the look of it and kept asking my Dad to let me do a Beginners Course until he gave in. Later my sister took up the sport as well so it became a family activity and we enjoyed shooting and competing in tournaments together. I still enjoy the sport as much as I did then."
And it is her family that Warner puts all of that hard work down to, saying: "My family has been my main inspiration. They are the ones who introduced me to the sport I love and they have supported me so much even though at times it has been tough. They've put so much time, money an effort in helping me. They have never questioned my ability and have always emphasised that enjoying every moment of my sport is the important thing."
With 30 hours of training a week, Warner's sport can become pretty expensive. But thanks to GO GOLD Funding, some of that financial worry has been taken away.
"Go Gold funding has helped me a huge amount over the years they have supported me. Without a doubt, they have made a difference, helping with competition and training costs and allowing me to buy equipment that I might not have been able to afford. I have also benefitted from the workshops they have put on. I've used the information to relate back to archery and to improve my performance. I'm also an Ambassador for Go Gold and have enjoyed representing them at events."
Follow Lizzie Warner's progress towards the top with her blog: http://www.lrsport.org/profiles/lizzie-warner.