The GB Archery’s Olympic squad have praised the England football training base St. George’s Park after a week-long camp.
Like other elite national sports teams who have visited the Burton base, GB Archery would usually travel abroad for a training camp due to the nature of the sport and needing appropriate weather conditions to train.
As was the case for England Rugby and GB Rowing recently, the world-class indoor and outdoor facilities at St. George’s Park provided a more than suitable alternative.
It is the athletes’ first camp away from their usual training base Lilleshall this year and they are due back at St. George’s Park for a selection shoot for the Olympic games between 28 March – 4 April. The Olympics is set to be staged in Tokyo later this Summer.
David Tillotson, GB Archery Olympic team director, said: "Due to international travel restrictions, we have been unable to get overseas. This is for both training camps and our Olympic selections shoot, as planned.
"The vagaries of the British weather means that we need a suitable indoor, as well as an outdoor option. St. George's Park, the home training base of England football teams, is clearly a quality venue.
"We are very happy with all facilities and arrangements. The place is worthy of our best shooting skills and the importance of the selection event."
St. George’s Park general manager Holly Murdoch said: “St. George’s Park has been privileged to continue hosting elite sport from around the country during these challenging times. It has been a great opportunity to facilitate the needs of GB Archery and provide world-class facilities for their Olympic training camps to train at the highest level.
“It is good to see the venue host such a broad range of elite athletes and watch the facilities come to life with the different requirements of each sport. It showcases just how much we have to offer.”
GB Archery Head Coach Richard Priestman said “St. George’s Park is fantastic and exactly the kind of place we were looking for as we weren’t able to travel abroad for a warm weather training camp and the facilities here allow us to replicate the same experience.
“One of the key factors when considering St. George’s Park were the indoor facilities. The weather conditions in the UK mean that we can’t train effectively outdoors as we need calm conditions, so the facilities allow us to fine tune our technique and build our confidence in achieving good scores.
“This training camp is really important for our Olympic preparations and it allows us to get everybody together to train as a squad and replicate the kind of thing we will do at the Olympics.”
Bryony Pitman, a World Championship bronze medallist, said “St. George’s Park is an amazing facility and you don’t expect anything less from a football venue but everything that we’ve seen so far is top of the range.
“It is really important for us to have a 70-metre indoor range, especially when the weather is like it is today so that we can concentrate on performing rather than having to fight all of the different conditions.”
GB Archery have undertaken strict COVID protocols to keep their athletes and staff as safe as possible whilst also protecting the staff on-site at St. George’s Park. They ensured each athlete and member of staff provided a negative COVID test prior to arrival and completed other tests throughout the week.
Looking ahead the England senior men’s and U21 squads will begin their latest camps next week at St. George’s Park ahead of their World Cup qualifiers and UEFA EURO group stage-matches respectively. The training base will then welcome back the GB Archery teams before the Lionesses arrive for their April camp and fixtures against France and Canada.