8 August 2018

Para-archer Grinham targets medal at European Championships

Having been told as a teenager she would never be able to master archery because of her disability, Jodie Grinham is accustomed to proving people wrong.

The 25-year-old, who was born with a short left arm, no fingers and half a thumb, got into para-archery after going along to watch her dad shoot arrows at their local club.

She eventually begged him to let her have a go after becoming bored of just watching, but a member of the club told her it would be impossible for her to ever shoot a bow.

That didn’t stop the Haverford West athlete, though, as she proved the naysayers wrong by becoming a Paralympic medallist after claiming silver at Rio 2016.

And she is now focused on adding to her burgeoning medal collection once again at the European Para-Archery Championships in Pilsen, Czech Republic, next week.

“I’m really excited about the European Championships, I’ve had a few niggles, a few injuries this year, but that seems to be the story of an athlete at the moment,” she said.

“It’s all going well at the moment and I seem to be getting back on to it and steadily building back up, so hopefully I’ll peak just in time for the Europeans.

Jodie Grinham at the Rio 2016 victory parade in London

“I want to medal. The last two internationals I’ve finished fourth and I’ve finished sixth, so I would like to get that individual medal.

“We had the European Cup, which was over the two internationals this year, and I finished third in that, so I’d like to think I could bring a medal back from Pilsen.”

After attending the Paralympic inspiration program at London 2012, Grinham was single-minded about her ambition to represent Great Britain at the next Games in Rio.

She achieved her dream alongside John Stubbs in the team compound open competition, earning silver after losing out to Chinese duo Zhou Jiamin and Ai Xinliang in the gold medal final.

Grinham said she is now confident she can contend for the medals at every tournament she enters and hopes the European Championships can be the perfect springboard for Tokyo 2020.

“It would be amazing to win a medal at the European Championships, it would be one of the best things I could ever do,” said Grinham, who lives in Telford and trains at Silvercloud in Crawley.

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I want to medal. The last two internationals I’ve finished fourth and I’ve finished sixth, so I would like to get that individual medal.

Jodie Grinham

“We have Europeans this year, worlds next year then Tokyo, so it’s a good stepping stone to get me where I want to be for Tokyo.

“Rio was absolutely fantastic, I loved it, I managed to win silver, which was – at that point – the highlight of my career and then it boosted me forward.

“I’ve medalled at nearly every international event since, so it was just fantastic. I didn’t expect a medal going in, but I knew if I was on form, the best we’d ever done was bronze at that point.

“Going into Rio I ended up in quarantine for the first three days as I was really unwell, so I thought a medal might be off the cards, but it didn’t stop me.

“I went out and trained harder and smarter and came back with silver. It gives me a lot of confidence going into internationals as a Paralympic medallist as people have that persona of you.

“They know even if you’re not on form, you’re in that top eight and it’s actually made me train harder as I have that pressure of our athletes expecting me to perform.”

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