Paterson Pine is eyeing silverware at Paris 2024 Paralympics

Phoebe Paterson Pine competes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Phoebe Paterson Pine went into Tokyo 2020 relatively unknown and left as the one to beat.

The Telford archer, who has spina bifida, won gold in the women's individual compound at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and now sits at the top of the World Archery standings.

Originally viewing her first Games as a stepping stone to Paris 2024, Paterson Pine dominated the range in Tokyo in a whirlwind few days of competition.

And after adding the title of European champion and a world bronze medal to her CV in 2022, the archer is now challenging her rivals to raise the bar in Paris.

"I call Tokyo a 'baptism of fire' just because of how fast it happened," said the 25-year-old.

"I was a debutant, and it was just meant to be a case of seeing how it went and then working harder towards Paris.

"So, to walk away with gold, I was learning and having to live the reality at the same time.

"Since Tokyo I've felt like I've had a target on my back. We had our world championships last year and I felt it there a lot.

"It was quite difficult because I got bronze and when I lost my semi-final, the person who beat me went absolutely crazy.

"But I understand why I have that target and I'm almost glad that I have it because I want to see where this sport can go. I want my opponents to push me."

One year out from Paris, Paterson Pine is in the middle of a crucial year, with quota spots for next year's Games up for grabs at several competitions.

And the para archer has added further excitement to her 2023 programme after also being selected to shoot with Great Britain's non-disabled, Olympic squad.

"As a disabled athlete, I find it tremendously impressive that I'm able to compete alongside able-bodied athletes and shoot at a standard that they are able to, even though my body doesn't necessarily cooperate with me," she said.

"I would love to see more disabled archers competing alongside our able-bodied peers and I'm really excited about that opportunity to push myself a bit more."

Paterson Pine is one of over 1,000 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing her to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering medical support – this is vital for her pathway to the Paris 2024 Games.

And with the Paris 2024 Paralympics only one year away, the Games are set to inspire people and communities all across the country. Paterson Pine hopes that by sharing her story it will give others motivation to get involved into sport.

She is now focused on helping other disabled people find their way into sport after revealing that archery saved her as a teenager.

From feeling left out in PE due to her disability and her ongoing struggles with health anxiety and depression, the archer is constantly raising the profile of sport within the disabled community.

"Archery has helped me through so many rough experiences over the years,” she said.

"I've gone through my formative years in the sport, and it's shaped me to have a lot more self-belief and feel a lot more purpose.

"My anxiety specifically centres around things going wrong with my body which, as a disabled person is tricky but archery is that escape.

"Tokyo was highly stressful and once I won, I didn't feel like I could celebrate in case something went wrong.

"I'm still on anti-depressants and they’ve helped me so much. I've gone from feeling like I can't get out of bed to having more fight in me.

"I want to help people get into sport whatever way I can and I want it to save people just like it saved me."

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