England’s domination of Commonwealth Games archery looked all set to continue in Delhi this morning when Naomi Folkard, Amy Oliver and Alison Williamson stepped up to the mark for their final three arrows against India in the gold medal match.
With a four-point lead they just needed to keep a steady nerve. But with the crowd whistling and cheering in the background, Amy Oliver’s aim failed her for the first time this week.
Instead of the usual nines and 10s, the 23-year-old from Rotherham loosed her one wayward arrow of the morning, hitting six. That left former Olympic bronze medallist Alison Williamson needing a perfect 10 with the final arrow of the final to take the title, or nine to draw level with the hosts.
She hit eight, meaning England had to be satisfied with a silver to add to yesterday’s golds in the women’s and men’s compound events. They’d missed the title by just one point, losing 207-206.
It was a disappointing end after England had beaten Canada by a comfortable eight points (208-200) in the semi-finals earlier, and led India through every stage of the final until the penultimate arrow.
Afterwards Williamson put brave face on the loss, but acknowledged that competing in front of a rowdy Indian crowd was not easy.
“Obviously it was a difficult way to finish,” said the 28-year-old from Staffordshire. “But if you’d offered us silver on the plane on the way over here we possibly would have taken it.
“After winning two golds yesterday and silver today, it’s still been a strong showing from the England team. We have the men’s and individuals to come and I hope we can to add to the tally.
“Obviously, this is not a typical archery crowd but we’re not making any excuses because we shoot as a team. I liken it to golf, though. You don’t get people clapping and shouting when someone is teeing off.
“But, as I say, it’s not an excuse. We respect the Indian team and they were worthy winners.”
Indeed, it was always going to be difficult against the hosts, who scored an impressive 213 in the semi-final against Malaysia, winning by a massive 28 points.
Watched by CGE president Dame Kelly Holmes, England more than matched them almost all the way in the way in the final, despite the partisan supporters. England now have three medals from three events, with the men’s team recurve semi-finals and final to come at 14.00.
Not bad for a nation that hadn’t won a Games gold in this sport for 28 years before arriving in Delhi.
Canada beat Malaysia 202-192 in the bronze medal match to take the third spot on the podium.