Phoebe Paterson Pine held her nerve to win the women’s individual compound open final and claim archery gold for ParalympicsGB.
Paterson Pine defeated Mariana Zuniga Varela of Chile 134-133 in a tense gold-medal match to secure the Paralympic title.
The Cirencester archer had earlier beaten her close friend, teammate and world number one Jess Stretton to qualify for the quarter-finals.
In the final, the two archers were even after the two ends, both making 28 and 26 in ends 1 and 2, before Paterson Pine opened up a slender one-point lead in the third.
The 23-year-old then tripled her advantage in end 4, shooting 28 to Zuniga Varela’s 26, but with the Chilean piling on the pressure by totalling 28 in the final end, Paterson Pine needed to shoot an eight with her final arrow to guarantee gold and that is exactly what she did.
The new Paralympic champion said: “I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have ever thought that this was going to happen.
“I’ve worked incredibly hard for it and there was always a chance just because of the amount of hard work that I have put in.
“But as an athlete, you’re always not too sure and so I have a lot more confidence in myself now.”
Earlier in the day, Paterson Pine defeated Stretton to advance to the quarter-finals, prevailing 141-140 in a rollercoaster encounter.
Stretton had shot a Paralympic record in the ranking round and received a bye straight to the second round, while Patterson Pine came through her opening contest 142-138 against Tatiana Andrievskaia of RPC.
After her defeat, Stretton said: “I’m so proud of Phoebe, she’s worked so hard and she’s going to keep going forward and make us all proud.
“It’s always really difficult shooting against a teammate and I’ve had unfortunate luck to shoot against teammates at the last two Games I’ve been at now and it’s a horrid feeling every single time because you shoot with them, you want them to do well but you also want to do well yourself.
“I did feel quite a lot of pressure going into these Games, a lot of people had said to me you won in Rio, you could be a double medallist but I tried to come at it from the mind frame that it’s a different category.”
And Paterson Pine found it similarly tough facing one of her ParalympicsGB teammates: “It’s a rough situation to be in. We finished the match, got the signal that I’d won, got off the line and immediately turned to her and said ‘I’m so sorry’.
“We met at a training camp in 2014, we’ve grown up together, we’re similar ages. She’s so easy to get on with and I’m a bit of a waffler, when I get nervous I get chatty so we just clicked.”
Paterson Pine then edged past Julie Chupin 141-139 in the quarter-finals, despite the Frenchwoman scoring a perfect 30 in the first end, before winning a topsy-turvy semi-final against Maria Andrea Virgilio 140-137 to guarantee a medal that was eventually gold.
Paterson Pine said: “After defeating Jess, I just felt terrible, taking my own teammate out but I think after winning the semi-finals that was when I really thought ‘right ok, I have a chance at this now’ and that’s when I really wanted to just go out and give it my absolute all.
“I’ve definitely won this medal for me and her.”
Image courtesy: imagecomms