On the 2nd and 3rd September, the cream of the UK’s archery talent assembled at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham for the National Tour Finals. More than 6,000 spectators attended or streamed the event from across the world as they watched the archers compete for the top podium spots in the disciplines of recurve, compound and barebow archery.
18-year-old world number one Penny Healey secured gold in the recurve women event, taking her third National Tour title in a row, to add to her World Cup Antalya 2023 gold medal and her win at the European Games in Krakow. Sarah Bettles improved on her 2022 National Tour bronze medal to take the silver, and British Olympian Bryony Pitman picked up bronze.
After her victory, Penny said: “This win means a lot. I’ve been struggling a bit for the past few months with my shot routine and stuff, and to finally have it come together on the finals field is amazing and it gives me great confidence for the World Cup Final next week.”
In the recurve men competition, Tom Hall shot his way through to the gold, beating Conor Hall who took silver and Monty Orton the bronze.
Afterwards, Tom shared how he conquered his nerves to take the National Tour title, he said: “Just trust it. That’s all I’m trying to scream into myself. When you’re out there and you feel nervous and you’re on the stage, everything is magnified. I’ve learned to just try to ignore it, find my shot, move through, and trust that the work I’ve done will get the results.”
In the compound competition, the women’s title was won by Lizzie Foster who saw off world number one Ella Gibson in an incredibly tight semi-final to face Layla Annison for the gold medal, with Gibson taking the bronze medal.
A shocked Lizzie said afterwards: “I’ll be honest, I don’t at this point quite realise what I’ve done. So maybe it’ll sink in tomorrow when I wake up and watch the video back and realise I have a gold medal around my neck.”
The compound men’s competition was won by 2018 and 2019 winner James Mason, Ajay Scott took the silver medal and last year’s second-placed shooter Kai Thomas-Prause took the bronze.
Speaking after his win, James said: “This win feels really good. It’s a big shock to be honest as I spent most of the season recovering from injury, so I went in with little expectations.”
The barebow competition saw an impressive rise in competitor numbers this year compared to 2022. In the barebow men competition, Daniel Kilgallon saw off competition from last year’s champion Wilco van Kleef-Bolton to win gold.
The barebow women’s event saw Sarah Hubbard fight hard to her first Tour Final gold medal; she beat Pat Hotchkiss to take the top spot.
This was the seventh time the two-day National Tour competition has been held at Wollaton Hall.
Image Credits: Archery GB