Interview with Naomi Folkard - December 2003

Age 20
Born Leamington Spa, resides Selly Oak/Leamington Spa.
University of Birmingham 2nd year Music (violin and piano)

First of all, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. Despite the fact that you're only 20 , you've been shooting for many years to a very high level. When and where did you first try archery.

I tried it when I was 5 at a family scout camp. My father took up the sport at our local club and a year or two later I joined with my brother James and my mother.

What persuaded you it was what you wanted to do?

Nothing persuaded me really. Its what I did, and I had no reason not to do it, I quite enjoyed it. When I started shooting FITAs (when I was 10) I really started enjoying archery. Setting myself and achieving goals really spurred me on. For example, I got my 800 Hereford rose and my 1000 FITA star when I was 11. Getting onto the British Junior team when I was 12 was a complete shock to me, it made me realise my dreams could become reality. (Sorry if that's a bit cheesy!)

Not all junior archers progress into successful seniors. How have you adapted to university life in terms of your archery?

It helped that I was 1st on the seinior indoor team in 2000 and outdoors 2001, which meant I had 2-3 years of senior international experience before I started uni.

At BUSA Indoor 2003, held on your home turf, you tied the previous BUSA record of 583, but finished second to [the March 2002 interviewee] Alison Williamson. How was the day for you?

It wasn't a great day for me, I could have done a lot better, but that's the way it goes sometimes. If I'd have had a PB and still came second then I'd have been happy, competition is often about personal aims and goals as you cannot affect how well your opponent does.

Last indoor season Birmingham Uni's average team of 4 Portsmouth score without you in the team was 1905 and with you it was 2050. Why were you able to attend so few of Birmingham's matches last season?

I am busy doing my own training at 70m on Sunday's as it is usually the only opportunity I have.

How frustrating was that for Birmingham and for you and given Birmingham's slow start to the BUTTS league without you, will you be able to attend more BUTTS legs this season?

My team mates at uni understand this, they don't get frustrated by it. I'm unlikely to be able to attend any of the legs this year, as I have more squad training weekends and I want to see my coaches (Barry & June Farndon) more this year than last.

What sort of funding do GNAS provide you with and what do they expect from you in return?

I'm funded not by GNAS but by UK sport lottery. They expect a professional approach towards my training and competing. Good personal results are obviously important also.

In the last few years Birmingham have had a fairly good track record in producing good novices, but have made much less impact with their senior side. How much can you help improve matters in terms of coaching?

I'm afraid I don't have any time for coaching, especially as we have had 2 coaches at Birmingham for a number of years. I suppose last year the senior side made less of an impact because we had a huge number of novices who were in desperate need of help. This year we have fewer novices so Greig (our main coach) can spend more time with the seniors.

Were you pleasantly suprised or disappointed by the standard of facilities and time afforded to archery within the univeristy?

The facilites are quite good here. It's a big shame that we cannot shoot outside here during autumn and winter (I was disappointed with this), but the field we shoot on in summer is great! It would also be good if we could shoot more than just one night a week. [corr.] I'm part of the sports scholarship scheme here, with that I get free use of swimming pool, gym, weights room, health suit and physiotherapy. The scholarship scheme is very supportive in this way, I have found it very useful.

You are now Birmingham's Tournaments Officer. What responsibilities does this involve?

If I am available and have enough time then I will organise any shoots etc. but most of the time I delegate to someone with more time.

In the summer of 2003 you went to Korea as archery was one of the guest sports in the World Student Games. That must have been an amazing experience - what were your highlights?

The highlight for me was shooting at one of their internation archery stadium - specially designed for archery. It was a great experience to be involved in a multi-sport event.

Is it true that GNAS will pay for you to go to the next world university archery championships in summer 2004?


At the big univeristy events the size of the ladies field is sometimes only half that of the gents. Do you think that university archery has a problem in this regard?

This is true across all areas of archery. I wouldn't say there is a problem.

Is enough being done to redress the balance and if not, what measures could clubs take?

I don't know if uni clubs can do anything about this, maybe they could make the idea of archery more appealing to ladies somehow.

As one of the country's leading archers, I owe it to the readers to pick your brains a little. Describe your typical weekly shooting schedule plus any general fitness work.

I shoot or do reversals most days to keep my strength. I try to do CV work 2-3 times a week this is in winter. In summer I do more of everything except reversals because I shoot enough in summer.

What sort of things would you advise for novices to practice in their first year of shooting?

Everyone is different. Find a good coach who can offer you good advice on a regular basis.

How about archers in their second year, just on the outskirts of their university team and looking to try to break in? And for the top archers in each club?


Finally the future. What are your aims and objectives for the season ahead and also longterm? Which of these are most important to you?

I want to keep improving on my scores and positions. This year my main objective is to remain on the British team and get a good position at the Olympics in individuals and also team. My long term objective is, as any good athlete's, is to get an Olympic or World Championship medal.

Naomi, thank you very much.