Phillips has Rio in his sights after stunning archery comeback

First published in Sport
Last updated

THE eyes of the sporting world are on Brazil for the next month but a Cwmbran archer will be focusing on Rio for the next two years.

Dave Phillips is targeting both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016 after returning to the sport last year with a bang.

The 48-year-old, a former member of the British junior squad, headed back to Llantarnam Archery Club when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and is reaping the rewards.

Not only is he feeling healthier but he has been crowned UK Recurve Masters champion, been selected for the Para European Championships, will compete for Wales at the Commonwealth Championships at Belfast and has the World Championships in Bangkok in his sights.

"After retirement I was sat in the house, depressed with nothing to do," said Phillips, who used to work for Tata Steel. "My wife Angie suggested going back to archery and a couple of friends lent me the equipment.

"I only came back for the social side of things – archery was secondary to my fitness and wellbeing – but I soon rediscovered my love for the sport and started doing really well.

"Now taking gold at Rio is my ultimate goal and I want to shoot for the able-bodied team there. I want to be that good and I know that I am capable of it because I am already right behind the best in the country.

"I've always been determined to succeed and I feel that I am improving all the time."

Phillips is closing in on the European para record but his return to the sport could have been brought to a swift end had it not been for the efforts of Angie, a mobile hairdresser turned private detective.

"I had borrowed the kit and it all got stolen from my boot last year," said Phillips, who practices four times a week. "I was devastated and was going to give archery up but my wife went on a mission with the PCSOs and they found it.

"After that my scores went berserk thanks to tremendous coaching. I've had so much help from so many people, especially my old teammate Ian Carpenter and my coaches Harry Reed and Gary Derraven. I can't thank them enough."

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