Shropshire Star

Pupils take aim with Olympians at grand opening of Shropshire archery facility

Schoolchildren were invited along to meet professional archers at the official opening of a new training facility at Lilleshall Sports Centre.

Last updated
Picture: Phil Blagg Photography

An event to celebrate the official opening of the Performance Archery Centre at Lilleshall National Sports Centre has taken place.

The facility, funded by Sport England with support from UK Sport, will be used by Olympic and Paralympic archers as their daily elite training environment in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Games.

On Monday, a local archery club ran taster sessions for school children from three schools from Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire and Wolverhampton to try archery and meet some of the athletes heading to Paris this year.

Archery GB has been based at Lilleshall for over 20 years. Previously, Sport England funded the repurposing of a sports hall and synthetic football surface as an archery facility, but over time the environment could not be further developed to achieve the standards needed for a modern elite daily training environment.

Coach Paul Nelms. Photo: Phil Blagg Photography

A dedicated archery facility means Lilleshall now features a 70-metre indoor and outdoor shooting range, enabling all-year-round shooting and car and cycle parking.

Facilities are on the same level and are fully inclusive and accessible.

The centre has several green initiatives including solar panels, additional battery storage and hot water generated via air-source heat pumps.

The project was completed over winter to best prepare athletes for this year’s Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The sport’s national governing body has also relocated into new offices on the site to enable staff to have a permanent base close to the new performance centre.

The athletes moved into the new centre in early December, with four chosen at random to shoot the first arrows.

The first indoor arrows were shot by Olympian Tom Hall and Para archer Jamie Harris. The first outdoor arrows were shot by Paralympic champion Phoebe Paterson Pine and World Class Programme athlete Alex Wise.

At the official opening on Monday the indoor range was renamed in honour of Margaret Maughan, a trailblazer of the Paralympic movement.

The new outdoor range pays tribute to Simon Terry, the first British archer to win two medals at an Olympic Games in the modern era.