University Student Sets New Archery World Record

Now, six years on, University of Worcester student and Great Britain athlete Phoebe Pine has set a new archery world record.

Phoebe, who was born with spina bifida, now holds the highest score in the world ever set from an 18m distance by a woman in her Compound Open disability classification.

She set the record at a World Cup Stages event in Nimes, France, achieving a score of 562 out of a possible 600 points, shooting 60 arrows, which are worth a maximum 10 points each depending on how close they are to the target.

But now Phoebe's sights are set on a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

"It's very much the challenge that I like," said the 20-year-old, of Cirencester, who is in the first year of a Sports Studies degree.

"I shot this score, which is great, but it's now about adding 10 points onto it. You're always striving to be as good as you can be. There's never a point where you think that's it, you've perfected it. That's why I love the sport so much."

Phoebe's journey has seen her rise from a total novice when she picked up a bow and arrow at 14 on a family holiday to a World Championships silver medallist.

"I tried it and I just wanted to carry on doing it really," said Phoebe, whose condition affects her lower body and her ability to walk and balance. "It was a horrible first attempt and I remember thinking I can't hit a barn door, but I really liked it. I think I just felt comfortable doing it."

A few days later, she signed up to the beginners" course at Cirencester-based Deer Park Archers Club, where she still trains today.

Two years later Phoebe was scouted and joined the Great Britain academy. She has been competing internationally ever since, most recently in Dubai.

She is now preparing for the European Para Archery Championships in August and next year's World Championships, combining training at the GB Archery National Centre in Telford, her club and at home in the garden.

Phoebe's studies, she says, have helped her better understand her sport and could help her go into coaching after her archery career ends.

"The sports psychology side has been really interesting," she said. "At the moment I'm doing motor skills, which is also interesting from an archery perspective in that it's just how you acquire a skill and the amount of time it takes for the brain to learn how to do that skill.

"It's also given me more of an understanding of what goes into the sport, which has given me more respect for it. Being part of the team you are told what to do. I now know why they want me to do this, rather than just because they have told me to."

Phoebe, who is supported through the University's sports scholarship programme, admits it can be tough combining study with more than 30 hours a week of training.

"It's not as glamorous as in films," she said. "You do have to make sacrifices for it, but when you wake up the day after a match and you got that medal it makes it all worthwhile."