Published: 10:48, 18 February 2020
| Updated: 10:52, 18 February 2020
Teenager Sophie Castle, who won the senior category the Kent Indoor Championships, has ambitions to compete in the Paris Olympics in four years’ time.
The 18-year-old, a member of Dover Castle Archery Club, landed the top prize at the championships held at Ashford Archery Club at the end of January, having only moved up to the senior category in December.
Sophie has been shooting since the age of seven, has won numerous titles and has 33 Kent records and one national record to her name.
She has represented Kent several times, but her biggest achievement so far was when she was part of the Archery GB team in Slovenia, progressing through the qualifying stages to finish ninth.
On dealing with competition at the top level, Sophie said: “I do get butterflies on the way to an event but once I am there I switch to competition mode and focus.
“I wear headphones and listen to music while I set up my equipment, before I start shooting. I know from the start if I am shooting well. After the first one or two ends, I know.”
She no longer puts pressure on herself, adding: “I used to, but now with the training and coaching I have from Archery GB, as long as my timing and technique is correct each time every time, the score will follow.”
She is part of the Archery GB Pathway squad, travels all over the country to competitions and attends Archery GB headquarters at Lilleshall at least twice a month.
With any Olympic dream, family support plays a big part and Sophie admits her father, Paul, has played an important role.
She said: “He is the main driving force behind me. He pushes me to the next target, and always says I can do better.
“I have other people who do help me, like my GB coach Nicky Hunt. My nan and grandad both assist financially, as we are self-funded, and of course my taxi driver – my mum.”
In the shorter term, Sophie hopes to represent Archery GB in Romania, and take part in the European and World Championships.