Para-archer Danielle Brown admitted she almost buckled under pressure after squeezing into the semi-finals at the London 2012 Paralympics - but she vowed not to make the same mistake again as she bids to defend her crown.
The 22-year-old from Lothersdale, near Skipton , made a solid start in her quarter-final match against Maria Rubio Larrion of Spain, taking a 2-0 advantage in the first set but after the second was tied, she allowed her opponent to level before eventually securing a 6-4 victory in the fifth and final set.
It was an uncharacteristically nervous performance by the world number one but she has booked a semi-final berth with Marina Lyzhnikova on Tuesday and could well face fellow Brit Mel Clarke, who also reached the last four, in the final.
But Brown, who became the first Paralympian to compete in an able-bodied event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games where she helped England to team gold, is only too aware that improvements must be made. “I've been shooting really well in practice but I don't really know what happened, letting her back into the match,” said Brown. “It must have been the nerves.
“I was a bit disappointed with how I shot but I got through which was the main thing. It’s highlighted a few things that I need to work on for the next match but it is a good place to be because it’s better than being complacent."
Meanwhile, Bradford's Phil Bottomley refused to be downbeat despite a round of 16 exit in the individual competition of his first Paralympic Games. Bottomley was beaten 6-4 by Turkey’s Oguzhan Polat.
A poor final arrow cost the 53-year-old. From that last arrow he needed to score six points to go through, but he could manage only one to seal his early departure from the individual recurve event.
Bottomley, however, remained full of pride at his debut Paralympic appearance, and remained in a positive mood despite the defeat.
"I'm not disappointed, it's my first Paralympic Games," he said.
"Representing Great Britain is an honour and a pleasure. I'd like to thank UK Sport for their sponsorship to get me where I am now.
"Everything was fine. Honestly, I wasn't under any pressure for the final arrow.
"All I had to do was seven or higher. I was just off-timing and it can cost you."
Polat admitted the home crowd had affected his own performance, and he was left thankful for Bottomley's misfortune.
"I needed him to get five for me to win but I felt bad for him when he shot a one," he said.
"Bottomley helped me get through so it's thanks to him. I felt pressure shooting against him and against a home crowd."
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