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New targets helps Telford's Louisa Piper banish Olympics sorrow

Archery ace Louisa Piper says juggling shooting precision with university revision can help her banish her Olympic heartbreak.

Louisa Piper
Louisa Piper

The Telford-based star, 19, narrowly missed out on a place in Tokyo last summer after being deprived of her usual training regime when the Covid pandemic struck.

Piper was forced to adjust to a different academic landscape, basing herself three hours from home at Lilleshall’s National Training Centre so that she could train alongside virtual lessons.

Ultimately, the tough juggling act wasn’t quite enough and Piper lost out on the Olympic reserve position, leaving her to pick up her pen and secure a place at the University of Nottingham for a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

And she said: "Obviously getting so close to the Olympics, doing all that training for so many years, getting so close and seeing that goal moved is quite hard.

"But I didn't get hung up on that and the only thing I could do was focus on my training and my goals and my education.

"It's hard to get that close. Watching other people do the things that you hoped you were going to be doing is hard but you have to look at the big picture.

"And the experiences I’ve had put me in a great position for the future and I trust that long-term it is they will be the better right choice."

The 2021 European Under-21 Field Archery champion had faith in her ability to progress to Paris 2024, already a part of the Olympic squad since she was 14 years old.

With success at such a young age, it's no surprise that the archer has a mature mentality and impressive organisational skills to see her juggle a demanding degree and elite sport effectively.

She said: "The main thing for me is that you need to want it.

"Also, making sure you're on top of your work, sometimes I do work in the car on the way to training, I do work at competitions, just trying to find those little pockets of time and using it efficiently.

"Especially at university, trying to make the sessions as fun as possible as well. Especially with archery, quite a lot of the training is individual and it can be quite hard.

'So trying to find ways to make it more fun, joining the university club has made it so much better and easier to train."

Piper uses preparation as a key and will be taking it into her future competitions after an impressive season so far which has seen her rise to 85th in the world.

She said: "We have the European Championships at the National Centre in two weeks which is a bit more of a peak competition.

"Overall this has been a really good season and my first one at uni so I've been adjusting to that.

"I went out to the Veronica's Cup out in Slovenia which was a senior world ranking event and I ended up winning that and we got a third in the mixed team which was really good.

"I'm now slowly working towards each World Cup separately and technique wise and making sure that I'm fully on top of work and everything so that I can take any opportunities I can get.

"It would be amazing to go to Paris and a really good experience and the closer you get, the more exciting it is."

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more

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