A FIRST-TIME Olympian has revealed what life was like in Tokyo’s Olympic village during Covid.

Bryony Pitman finished ninth in the individual archery event in Tokyo – her first ever Olympic Games.

During an interview on The Argus Podcast, the Brighton-born athlete said competing in an all but empty stadium without friends and family was a challenging experience.

“My family were planning on going before Covid, but there were no spectators,” she said.

“You’ve got all of these massive stands around you but like five people in them. It was a really odd experience.”

After qualifying in 38th, the 24-year-old, who now lives in Shoreham, was dealt a challenging route in the competition, and had to face two former Olympic medallists.

She said finishing in the top ten was “unexpected” after a not-so strong start.

“I think the pressure got to me. Before my first arrow on the qualifying round, I was thinking ‘I just have to shoot this first arrow and I can call myself an Olympian’,” she said.

“But I did it and my first arrow was a ten. After that I was so shaky and had so much adrenaline.

“There was a three-day gap until the final day. I did a bit of training and I think I just didn’t quite get into the same mindset.

“You think ‘by the end of today, I could be an Olympic medallist’. You get all of these thoughts that are difficult to control.”

The Argus: Olympic archer Bryony Pitman Olympic archer Bryony Pitman

Reminiscing about the preparation and her time at the Olympics, Bryony said it was both difficult and rewarding due to the Covid-19 guidelines.

“I was training mostly by myself. I was doing home workouts that got so boring,” she said.

“It was tough, especially when it go postponed. You have those thoughts of feeling like having nothing to train for. It was very stressful.

“Even when we were out in Tokyo, I tried to avoid he news as much as I could. You still catch glimpses of somebody saying the Tokyo Olympics could still be cancelled and you think ‘I’ve just got to make it to the first day’.”

She was one of hundreds of athletes from across the world at the delayed Olympic games, and said crossing paths with Olympic gold medallist and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was a highlight.

“We were walking past in our Team GB kit and out of politeness you say hello to your teammates even if you don’t know who they are,” she said.

“So, he’s walked past and said hi, so we’ve said his back, and I got a couple of metres further forwards and like ‘what a minute, that was Andy Murray’.”

The full episode of The Argus Podcast featuring Bryony Pitman is available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts