IT seems against the norm for an archer to need to work on their strength in a bid to turn their Olympic dream into a reality – but that is exactly what Amy Oliver believes she has to do.
Swinton archer Oliver has announced herself as a firm favourite to earn one of the three British women’s places for London 2012 over the past 12 months – kick-starting her bid at Commonwealth Games this time last year.
The 24-year-old won team silver for England alongside five-time Olympian Alison Williamson and Naomi Folkard in Delhi – a performance she backed up at the World Championships in Italy in July.
Oliver was the best Brit in the individual event, reaching round four, and, despite falling at the first hurdle in the women’s team event, she won bronze in the mixed equivalent with Larry Godfrey.
Still Oliver is taking nothing for granted and is planning to spend this winter not only working on her technique and mental preparation but also on improving the force of her bow.
“This year has actually been my best year in archery. I came ninth at the worlds individually and I won a bronze medal with Larry in the mixed team so for me it has been brilliant,” said Oliver.
“I have shot a lot of personal bests and my technique is getting really good and strength-wise I am just going to keep working on that.
“I have been working on my strength because my bow isn’t as strong as some of the other archers on the circuit and that means my arrows get affected by the wind more.
“We have our selection shoot coming up early next year and there are about six Brits shooting against each other and hopefully all the hard work I’ve been putting in and will put in will pay off.
“The Commonwealths were an amazing experience but this next year is going to be something else – it is definitely the most exciting time in my career so far.”
Oliver’s need for greater strength was highlighted at the London Archery Classic – the official 2012 test event – at Lord’s where she was forced to contend with unfamiliar winds.
The 24-year-old finished an agonising fourth as part of what is becoming the regular British women’s team of herself, Williamson and Folkard, but reached just the second round individually.
“There seemed to be a lot more wind at Lord’s compared to what there has been when we’ve trained there before,” she added.
“It is windy on field and it’s a very tricky wind. It is the same for everyone but I think what we are going to have to do in the winter is just shoot a lot more in the wind.
“We know it is there and when we have shot there before there hasn’t been any wind because it has been earlier in the year.
“So we have just got to keep that in mind knowing that this is what can happen in 2012. We have just got to use that and train for it.”