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Sharp shooter James Woodgate taking to the Tokyo Olympics stage like a duck to water

·3-min read
Woodgate, 19, is one of 25 athletes supported by an innovative new investment between Wall’s Pastry and SportsAid
Woodgate, 19, is one of 25 athletes supported by an innovative new investment between Wall’s Pastry and SportsAid

James Woodgate believes he's got the Olympic nerves out of the way ahead of his final competition in Tokyo, writes James Toney.

Woodgate, just 19, joined forces with Patrick Huston, 25, and Tom Hall, 30, in the men's archery team competition at Yumenoshima.

They swatted aside the challenge of Indonesia in blistering hot conditions in their opening match.

But they struggled against the Netherlands in the quarter-final, going down 5-3 in a close encounter decided by fractions - their overall score banking them fifth place overall.

"There's a lot I can take out of that in terms of how I want to perform on this stage," said Woodgate, who finished 38th in last week's ranking round and is one of 25 athletes supported by an innovative new investment between Wall’s Pastry and SportsAid.

TOKYO 2020 - A SHOCK, A PIECE OF HISTORY AND AN INCREDIBLE 1-2 FINISH - TOKYO TODAY DAY 4
TOKYO 2020 - A SHOCK, A PIECE OF HISTORY AND AN INCREDIBLE 1-2 FINISH - TOKYO TODAY DAY 4

"I was really shaking for the first game but I'm slowly starting to feel steady and more at ease with myself.

"I can definitely take comfort in the fact I now know how to perform on the finals field.

"I'm learning all about competition pressure as the Olympics go on. Whatever happens I know how much better I'm going to be for this experience."

Woodgate will now face Kazakhstan's Ilfat Abdullin in the opening round of the men's individual competition, who ranked nine places higher than him in qualifying – a match he could certainly win on paper.

"I'm just trying to take it all in, your first Games is an assault on the senses but you've got the learn to focus on the job in hand," he said.

"I feel I'm shooting well, so I've got to be confident about it."

Woodgate’s journey to Japan has been powered by a partnership between SportsAid and Wall’s Pastry, with an on-pack Wall’s promotion giving consumers a chance to win a handful of money-can’t-buy experiences.

The on-pack promotion launched earlier this month and involves 50p from every pack sold going towards supporting the next generation of SportsAid stars.

It's 17 years since Great Britain last won an archery medal at the Olympics but Woodgate's team-mate Hall believes there is a good future ahead, with the next Games in Paris just three years away.

"I love shooting with these guys and I'm proud of everything we've done as a team in qualifying for the Games, it's been a long journey," he said.

"It's not technique or training, you just have to believe. I thought we were in the game, so I'm gutted we've lost that. We've not got knocked down easy but we've still got a lot of growing to do as a team.”

Wall’s Pastry is proud to be championing the next generation of UK athletes. For more information about Wall’s Pastry or the on-pack promotion, please visit www.walls-pastry.co.uk/.

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