Alison WILLIAMSON makes it six!
London (GBR) – 9 May 2012
OLIVER, FOLKARD and WILLIAMSON at Commonwealth Games 2010 Alison WILLIAMSON will take part in her sixth successive Olympic Games this summer, after being confirmed as a member of Team GB. She is only the second archers to appear in sixth Olympic Games, after the Italian Ilario DI BUO in 2008. WILLIAMSON will line up with Naomi FOLKARD and Amy OLIVER in the Olympic women's archery team tournament at Lord's and the Athens bronze medallist will be among 64 contesting the individual tournament. And the Antalya World Cup recurve team gold medallists of last weekend, Alan WILLS, Laurence GODFREY and Simon TERRY, will represent Team GB in the men's tournament at Lords, between 27 July and 3 August. The announcement of the six GB London Olympic archers means that WILLIAMSON and WILLS received the official backing of Performance Director Sara SYMINGTON and Olympic Coach Lloyd BROWN after finishing third at the end of the selection process. WILLIAMSON said: "I'm so thrilled and proud to have made it to my sixth Olympics. It makes all the sacrifices, and all the hard work, over many years, worthwhile. Now I can start to look forward to the enormous honour of representing my country at a home Olympic Games. It just doesn't get any better!" As the three men gave themselves a timely pre-Olympic boost with their success in Antalya last Sunday, WILLIAMSON, OLIVER and FOLKARD proved they work well as a team when they took the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. And as WILLIAMSON looks forward to a remarkable sixth Games, FOLKARD, 28 years old, becomes only the second GB woman to appear in three Olympics, while OLIVER, 24, will be making her debut. She becomes the 33rd archer to represent GB at the Games since the sport returned to the schedule in 1972. Six participations at the Games represent the record in archery. WILLIAMSON and DI BUO are now leading the pack of 66 athletes who have competed in at least three Olympic Games since 1972 (to note archery also appeared at the Games in 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1920). Simon FAIRWEATHER (AUS), Giancarlo FERRARI (ITA), Richard JOHNSON (USA), Tomi POIKOLAINEN (FIN), Natalia VALEEVA (ITA) and Hiroshi YAMAMOTO (JPN) have participated in five so far. Among them, reportedly only VALEEVA and JOHNSON are competing for a spot their national teams and would join WILLIAMSON and DI BUO (and the latter is also trying to join the Italian team). Please find the complete list of archers who have participated in at least three Olympic Games since 1972 here. Alison, who will turn 41 this year, appeared on the international scene in 1986 at age 15, and made her Olympic debut in 1992. The records of youngest and oldest archer at Olympic Games since 1972 are held by Denise PARKER (USA) who was 14 years old at Seoul 88 and Marjory SAUNDERS (CAN) who was 59 at Munich 72. Considering this, could Alison even go for 7th participation in 2016!? Anyway, there is no doubt that she is posting one of the finest careers in archery history. World Archery Secretary General Tom DIELEN said: "World Archers is very proud that its former chair of the athletes committee, Alison WILLIAMSON is competing in London for her 6th Olympics. I remember competing in the same competition when Alison became the first British athlete to pass 1300 points. I watched her shoot the last arrow that day as did many others. This was in Brussels in 1991. Already that day I knew that this was an athlete that would make a brilliant career and she has shown this in Athens with her bronze medal. Now she can compete in her own country for another possible medal. We wish her the best of luck as well as her team mates.” In the Great Britain men’s team TERRY, WILLS and GODFREY will all be taking part in their second successive Olympic Games. GODFREY, 35, also went to Athens in 2004, when he came fourth, while TERRY, 38, was a double bronze medallist as an 18 year old at Barcelona in 1992. WILLS, 30, is taking part in his second Olympics. "Winning that gold medal at the weekend proves that we're back in business, and that's given us a real lift in the week that the team to represent GB at the Olympics is announced," said GODFREY. "But we won't be resting on our laurels, there's still a lot of work to do ahead of the Olympics and, trust me, the standards in Turkey were outstanding. While we've proved what we're capable of, we all know that we have to be totally focused between now and the start of the Olympic archery tournament." Archery GB Olympic Coach Lloyd BROWN said all six archers had worked "extremely hard" to secure their places, and he is confident Team GB has six talented, competitive and dedicated archers representing them at the London 2012 Games. "I congratulate all six who made the team, they worked extremely hard, and I'm confident they'll all be very competitive in the individual tournaments, and together in the team events, as the guys proved at the weekend," said BROWN, who coached fellow American Justin HUISH to an individual gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, and USA to a team gold the same year. "The competition for places was very intense, and that tells me we have both a healthy strength in depth, and some very good young archers waiting to break through." Sara SYMINGTON, Archery GB's Performance Director, appointed in 2009 with the responsibility of making sure that everything was in place to ensure British archers were fully prepared for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said the intense preparations will continue right up until the start of the Games. She said: "No stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of ensuring our archers are fully prepared, and at the top of their game, ahead of the Olympics. We have an extremely experienced squad who have had to work very hard to fight off determined competition for a place at the Games. It's a great achievement by all six archers to maintain such high levels of consistency over a long time, and to fend off their rivals." The archery competition at the Olympic Games will start with the Ranking Round on Opening Ceremony Day, 27 July. The men’s team event will take place on 28 July and the competition will finish with the men’s individual finals on 3 August. Women’s team event and individual finals will be played respectively on 29 July and 2 August. Follow Archery GB on Twitter: @archerygb Edited World Archery Communication Main source: Peter JONES Media, Archery GB, +44 (7841) 997408