A TEAM GB athlete with an eye for precision has been balancing books and bows in preparation for the Olympics.

Bryony Pitman, from Shoreham, arrived in Japan on Sunday ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games with her eyes firmly on a medal.

The 24-year-old is one of six archers who will represent Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics.

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In her preparations for the Games, Bryony has been juggling training with a humanities degree at Brunel University, but says Covid-enforced online learning has been a blessing in disguise.

“Covid actually made it easier to balance university and archery this year, as online teaching meant I didn’t have to spend loads of time going between home and campus when I could be training,” she said.

The Argus: Bryony Pitman with father Gary Kinghorn (left) and Olympic medallist Alec Potts at Worthing Archery Club. Credit: Gary OldmeadowBryony Pitman with father Gary Kinghorn (left) and Olympic medallist Alec Potts at Worthing Archery Club. Credit: Gary Oldmeadow

Bryony is nearing the end of her course, with just her dissertation left to write.

“The university have been incredibly understanding and supportive in giving me extensions when needed, particularly around my dissertation,” she said. “It takes a lot of good time management but support from the university and my family has been really crucial.”

The recurve ace is no stranger to big competitions having won bronze at the 2019 World Championships, gold at the 2019 European Games and competed at the 2014 Youth Olympics.

Bryony said she has a better idea of what to expect with everything from the atmosphere to the food inside the Olympics village.

“Winning medals at other international events has definitely helped me to know what to expect from a finals venue,” she said. “Hopefully it won’t be as overwhelming when I get there.

“Of course I hope to win a medal, what athlete doesn’t. Our biggest chances are in the team and mixed team events, but I do have individual ambitions too.”

The Argus: Bryony Pitman celebrating a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships. Credit: World ArcheryBryony Pitman celebrating a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships. Credit: World Archery

Born and raised in Shoreham-by-Sea, Bryony credits her accomplishments to date to her upbringing, local coaches and past family success.

“I’ve lived there my whole life,” she said. “My archery club is Worthing and they’ve been so good to me since I started there when I was 11.

“Representing Sussex was my first goal in archery and all the people I met on the junior and senior county team have always been so supportive of me.

“My dad competed for Great Britain, so I grew up around his stories and all the medals. I always thought it sounded cool so I wanted to do the same.”

Bryony, who has been participating in the sport for 13 years, says archery is for everyone.

“It’s a sport that anyone can start no matter your age, height, weight,” she said. “We also have a great Paralympic programme here in the UK so even if you have a disability archery is easy to get into.”

Bryony is due to begin competing on July 23, but away from the action, she says Covid isn’t near the top of her list of worries.

“Olympic athletes will be one of the most tested groups in the world both before the Games and during, so any cases will be caught early and there are measures in place for where people can isolate if needed,” she said.

“There will be daily health monitoring, temperature checks and Covid testing too. Even before we go a lot of British sports have been isolating at their training centres to protect the athletes.

“To add to this, a lot of national Olympic committees have vaccinated all of their athletes to give them better protection during the games. I trust that the BOA, IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee have done everything they can to make this Games as safe as possible.”