Olympic Green Archery Field

A bit like the sailors at currently windless Qingdao, Britain's medal tally has hit the doldrums over the last couple of days.

There was concern this first week was going to be slow, and to be honest, so it has proved.

Apart from the swimmers, who've had a great Olympics, and the cycling team who will undoubtedly be Britain's biggest providers, there's been disappointment elsewhere.

Nothing out of judo, diving, badminton, tennis, shooting - and now archery, where I've been spending my time over the last few days.

Archery had a target of two medals, and managed only a 4th place in the women's team event.

Let's add some context to that.


Last year was a particularly good one for the British archers, winning three medals at the World Championships, but it's here in Beijing where it really counts, where the fruits of their labours, and the £2.8m investment the sport's had in the past four years should be reaped.

What's gone wrong?

Alan Wills offered me an insight straight after bowing out in the last 16 this morning.

He told me the head coach, Peter Suk, wasn't letting him "be himself" out on the target field.

He wanted to feel more aggression, but felt that his personality was being subdued, because Suk wanted a calmer approach.

Team-mate Simon Terry mentioned "issues around the team" the other day, and clearly that's what he was alluding to.

I'm left to question why wasn't this resolved before the games?

If Wills wasn't getting what he personally needed, then why?

After all he's the bloke out there drawing the bow.

Whether this is a management or a communication issue, I don't know, but the net result is a flat team, flat performances and a zero in the medals column.

Team leader, Hilda Gibson, said that there'd be a chance to get all this out into the open at a big de-brief post games.

Fine, but forgive me, too late for Terry, who said he'd not got his head around the one-on-one contests yet, or Naomi Folkard who let nervousness get in the way of her talent.

If ever a sport needed a good psychologist to give them strategies for dealing with those things, it's archery.

Like target shooting, it's a sport you play as much against yourself as the person standing next to you.

The Grand National Archery Society has some thinking to do, as do the other sports who've missed their medal targets here.

UK Sport has a much publicised "no compromise" policy when it comes to funding sport.

Archery will be among those nervously awaiting the outcome of the divvy-up of cash for London 2012.

Gordon Farquhar is BBC 5 Live's sports news and Olympics correspondent. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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