Archer Kenny Allen made an impressive start to his bid to win the men’s Recurve Standing gold when he fired a Paralympic record to finish top of the ranking rounds at the Royal Artillery Barracks on Thursday, while Danielle Brown began her defence of the women’s Individual Compound (Open) title by equalling her own Paralympic record from Beijing.
Allen was in the form of his life, remaining steady despite the wet and windy conditions in south east London to score 651 and break the old Games record by 13 points.
A Paralympics debutant from Norfolk, Allen has never won an individual medal at world or European level, but he missed the world record by just eight points and out-fired Russia’s world record holder Timur Tuchinov by 13.
“I know it’s only the ranking round but to shoot a PB is great and to end up in number one is not too bad either,” said Allen. “I’m having a ball, it’s all great fun and I’m simply enjoying it.”
Fellow Briton Phil Bottomley ranked third with 630 while Murray Elliot’s aim was not quite so steady as he was 24th of the 24 competitors with 542.
“I’m really pleased for Kenny, he beat my personal record,” said Bottomley. “I shot 630 today and I’m in third, what more can I ask for? It’s up there with my best ever. In the stadium is where the job really starts.”
Brown, who took gold in Beijing aged 18, fired 676 with her 72 arrows, matching exactly the total she scored in ranking four years ago.
But the Yorkshirewoman, who has won three successive world titles at this event, was not happy with her performance despite finishing four points ahead of world no. 4 Stepanida Artakhinova, one of three top-10 ranked Russians in the competition.
“I’m kind of miffed and mixed really,” she said. “It’s my worst score of the year, but I’m still on top. We all know it’s the head-to-heads that count. I know the conditions were not great, but I don’t want to make excuses.”
Brown’s GB team-mate Mel Clarke scored 648 to finish third and Pippa Britton was eighth.
“The wind and rain caused me to drop in the middle when my arrows were caught in the wind,” said Clarke. I thought ‘Wow, what now?’ but that’s when all the training helps you keep your focus.
“I’m third overall so although it’s been a long couple of days, I’ll sleep well tonight.”
Beijing silver medallist John Cavanagh was seventh in the men’s Individual Compound (W1) with 616 points as Beijing champion David Drahoninsky from the Czech Republic top scored with 662.
Another Beijing Paralympian, Paul Browne was ninth in the men’s Individual Recurve (W1/W2), while Allen’s record helped Britain to first place in the men’s overall Team Recurve rankings.
Places in the ranking rounds determine the seedings for elimination matches which begin on Friday.
For more news and pictures from London 2012 go to the ParalympicsGB website: www.paralympics.org.uk/gb