Archery star Tom Hall believes he is on the path to peak at next summer’s Olympic Games as the upcoming National Tour Finals take centre stage in his plans.
The 28-year-old is GB’s highest-ranked male recurve athlete at 64 in the world and played a key role as both the men’s and women’s teams qualified a full quota of three places for Tokyo 2020 at June’s World Championships.
But having first picked up a bow at the relatively-late age of 20 and received his maiden call-up to the national squad just two years ago, Hall has progressed rapidly to help lead GB’s Tokyo charge.
“The thought of going to an Olympics is pretty cool,” he said. “Occasionally I have to pinch myself because if you’d told me four years ago I was looking set to go, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“I came to the sport as an adult and initially I was just looking for something to fill a bit of time between my lectures.
“I enjoyed it right off the bat and something just clicked in my head when one of coaches said that I could have a future in the sport.
“It’s been a brilliant journey from there and I’m always trying to get one step better every time I shoot – whether that be with scoring, my technique or knowing how to train.
“The last 18 months has been pretty intense – I’ve gone from making the British team and thinking I was just getting some experience, to being expected to be in the team and having pressure put on me to get results.
“But it’s been brilliant, I’ve learnt a lot and become a lot stronger.
“It’s still a bit weird to think our Olympic spots are confirmed because that’s all we talked about for 12 months, but we’ve had a bit of time off and are now all fully focused on getting our preparation right ahead of the Games.”
One of the most immediate dates in Hall’s calendar is the National Tour Finals in Monmouthshire’s Caldicot Castle and, after claiming bronze last time out, the University of Warwick graduate is hoping for an improvement at his fourth appearance at the competition.
With just a year to go until the Olympics, plans for Tokyo are already well under way with he and the team under no illusions about the work required over the next 12 months.
He said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for us because there aren’t many shoots we do that create the same atmosphere, and the castle is a beautiful venue to host it – I love it when the organisers get creative.
“I’ve grown into the event over the past few years and even though I enjoy shooting with the other guys and it’s great to see the whole team doing so well, I’m determined to go there and get a result.
“From there we’ve got a really good winter season of training planned and then there’s a nice competition schedule which will ensure we’ll be going to Japan fully prepared.
“At the Games I’m just looking to perform at the best level I can but it’s impossible to say how much I’ll improve between then and now.
“I just want us to do well as a team because we’ve focused on that over the last two years and we got the quota places together.
“But I still want to get the win at the National Tour Finals.”
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