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Chloe Ball-Hopkins

WITH a European Championship medal around her neck and a world record in the bag,
archer Chloe Ball remains on course to achieve her target of 
competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

By Rob Iles, Sports 14 August 2014 

The 18-year-old from Kingswood, near Wotton-under-Edge, finished third in the Compund/Recurve W1 category at the European Para-Archery Championships at Nottwill in Switzerland earlier this month to finish a breakthrough season with the Archery GB squad in style.

 Ball, who trains with Cleve Archers in Chipping Sodbury, recorded a personal best score of 628 out of 720 in the ranking round, beating her previous top score of 614 to be placed second out of four, but she narrowly lost 126-124 to fellow Brit Vicky Jenkins in the semi-final before winning the bronze medal match 126-114 against Russian Elena Krutova.

 She secured her place in the team after going through Archery GB’s W1 Talent Project and she felt the experience she gained from the Para Grand Prix in Czech Republic and her first international event in Bangkok, where she won gold and silver medals, stood her in good stead for the biggest competition of her young career so far.

 Ball said: “Everything I learnt in the two previous competitions helped. The setup was all the same and then it’s just in your head really because the European Championships were the next step up.

 “I try to think of it as doing the same thing at home and at training. You do naturally feel nervous at times but that helps me in a way and I used that to my advantage.

 “The scores I have been getting are my targets for Rio so hopefully I can re-evaluate for the next couple of years.”

 

Ball’s preparations for the European Championships went well as she broke world records for ranking rounds and head-to-head W1 women scores in the Cleve Summer FITA at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex.

Although her ranking round score of 614 was beaten in Switzerland by Jo Frith, who went on to win the gold medal, the former wheelchair racer still holds the World head-to-head record after shooting 138 out of a possible 150.

Ball said: “I just got a new bow so I was just trying to settle in with my new bow before the European Championships and it went well.”

The next big target on the road to Rio for Ball is the World Championships in Germany next year.

European Championships Team is Announced

4 June 2014 09:47am

Following on from the selection shoot that was held at Lilleshall last weekend we are now able to announce the archers that will represent Great Britain at the European Target Championships and the Para European Championships.


The team that will be travelling to Nottwill in Switzerland for the Para European Championships which runs from 25 July-3 August is:

RW - Kate Murray
RM - Paul Brown, Simon Powell, David Philips
W1 WOMEN- Chloe Ball, Jo Frith
W1 MEN - John Cavanagh, John Walker
COMPOUND WOMEN - Mel Clarke
COMPOUND MEN - John Stubbs, Richard Hennahane

Archery Star Chloe Ball blogs from Bangkok

By lauracfell  |  Posted: April 07, 2014

ASPIRING Paralympian Chloe Ball made the GB Paralympic Podium Potential Squad earlier this year and competed at her first international competition in Thailand last month.

The Wotton-Under-Edge archer has muscular dystrophy and first started shooting when doctors told her she could no longer do wheelchair racing and would have to slow down. Undeterred, Ball is determined to represent her country at the highest level. Here, the hardy16-year-old talks about her experiences at the Asian Para Grand Prix where she won a gold and a silver medal.

I AM sitting, staring at the red, white and blue shirt spread out on the bed in front of me.

I reach out and turn it over, and there it is: BALL – GBR.

My name right there on the back of the Great Britain kit. I’ve dreamt of that day over and over. Only this wasn’t a dream.

It was 18th March; I am in Bangkok and putting my flag shirt on to compete for Great Britain for the first time.

Sitting on the shooting line to warm up I am surrounded by archers from different countries.

It all feels so surreal. The buzzer went and I put an arrow on my bow, drew it up and shot.

That was the first arrow a W1 woman had officially shot in competition.

I love the hot weather but I was not prepared for the temperatures and humidity in Thailand.

It was very draining, putting pressure on every arrow that every archer shot. We had to ensure we remained hydrated so that our performances didn’t suffer.

The whole experience in Bangkok was inspirational and educational.

It will definitely help me with future competitions. During this competition I shot in the ranking round, gold medal match in the W1 mixed team event and bronze medal match in the W1 individuals.

Although I was unable to achieve the bronze medal I gave it my all.

Myself and John Cavanagh however won both gold and silver in the W1 mixed team event.

How can we win two you may ask?

They scored us in the head2head match, against Korea and the other Great Britain W1 man, where we won silver.

But they also combined our scores from the ranking round, resulting in us also receiving a gold medal.

Besides training and competing there were opportunities to relax.

My favourite place was in the pool. Mel Clarke, another Archery GB archer who has been in the team for many years and competed in the Paralympics and World Champions, spent her time in there with me too.

Being friends with someone like Mel is a great help; having someone with experience to support me is just what I need to settle in to this new lifestyle.

So what’s next? On the weekend of May 31, I have a selection shoot where I need to perform to the best of my ability to gain my place in the European Para-Archery Grand Prix in Czech Republic and the European Para-Archery Championships in Switzerland later on this year.

Bangkok Bonanza For Paras!

22 March 2014

And Chloe Ball turned in a stunning performance, coming fourth for britain in her first ever event.


Paralympic coach Michael Peart said: "when all tallied up, the GB team won nine medals in total from the paralympic events. It was a very strong performance and a great start to the 2014 season."

Chloe Ball relishing challenge of Bangkok

Laura Fell Gloucestershire Citizen

17 March 2014

PARALYMPIC hopeful Chloe Ball cannot wait to take on the exciting challenge of the Asian Para Grand Prix in Bangkok.

The five-day competition starts today with Ball in action in the brand new W1 category following her call-up to the GB Paralympic Podium Potential squad in January.

This will be the first time the Wotton-under-Edge resident has competed internationally in this category and the talented 17-year-old said that all she is focused on is achieving a personal best score and soaking up the atmosphere.

She said the result can take care of itself and will only serve to prepare her better for the team selection shoot at the end of May.

Ball said: “All I want to do is my best.

“The squad aren’t putting any pressure on me so I won’t be putting pressure on myself. I am just going to go out there and enjoy it and get the best out of myself before the selection shoot.

“I am excited and curious – I love a new challenge and I love new things. It feels like yesterday I was told I was going and the time has flown by.”

But Ball will not only have the pressure of competing for Great Britain on the international stage to contend with.

Temperatures in Thailand reach a maximum of 38C during the day, with humidity up to 75 per cent while Ball is shooting.

But Ball, who has muscular dystrophy, is determined not to let the conditions faze her.

And her mother Louisa will be by her side for the trip as a member of the support staff for the GB para-archery squad.

Ball explained: “I’m not used to that heat but I have had lots of advice about how to counter it, like wearing a white cap and drinking a lot.

“But I thrive in heat, it is good for my bones and my muscles. I can’t control what it may do to my body but I can control it psychologically.

“My mum being out there will make things easier for me and the rest of the team. It is a totally new place with new people and it would be harder if she wasn’t there, but she is there for the whole team too and it is really appreciated.

“She won’t be with me when I’m shooting though as I’ve never really benefited from my parents being there, but she will help me with everything else.”

Boyfriend James Elliott said he will be following the competition nervously at home, while Ball’s friends from South Gloucestershire and Stroud College are also excited.

Juggling college work with training for Cleve Archers could be a difficult balance, but Ball said the college have been tremendously accommodating.

She added: “The teachers have been great with my college work.

“Anything I need is sorted straight away and they have given me time off for the competition and for training. This means I don’t have to do any work while I’m out there, so I can just focus on shooting.”

Archer Chloe Ball has sights set on Rio 2016

Laura Fell Gloucestershire Echo - 17 March 2014

PTALENTED archer Chloe Ball is one step closer to her dream of Rio 2016 after selection into the Team GB Para-Archery squad, writes Laura Fell.

The hardy 17-year-old will compete in the new W1 category with a compound bow this year, and she will train at the national centre Lilleshall twice a week, with the aim of representingTeam GB in Brazil.

Dreams of Paralympic glory have been on the Wotton-on-Edge archer’s mind since she first picked up a bow in 2011.

Former wheelchair racer Ball, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, was devastated when doctors told her she would have to stop racing and “slow down” due to health problems.

Fittingly, it was at the National Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville, home of the Paralympic Games, that Ball first tried archery and quickly took to it.

The Cleve Archers member explained: “I was stubborn at first, but I knew I had to find another sport and slow down.

“I had dislocated my thumb wheelchair racing and it wouldn’t heal. I have had surgery on it since and fused it into the bow position.

“But when I tried archery I loved it straightaway.

“It was very different, and I soon got addicted to it and was given my own bow. I attended training camps and learnt a lot and that helped me so much.

“Time has gone so quickly but I am so happy I started shooting.

“When they first told me it didn’t quite sink in. I’m not sure it ever will! I was working so hard for it.

“I am so happy to be in the brand new category and part of it from the very beginning. I have had Rio in mind since it happened.

“I am young for an archer, so hopefully with some effort and getting some good scores, I will make it happen.”

The former Lady Katharine Berkley School pupil has had to take two six-month periods out of training due to a bout of glandular fever and the thumb dislocation, but has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top in three short years.

Already classmates at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College are saving up to offer their support at various competitions, starting with the European Archery Competition in Telford from January 24 to 26.

In March, Ball will travel to Bangkok to take part in the Asian Para Grand Prix.

Despite achievements at several competitions, selection into the podium potential squad is by far her greatest moment so far.

Ball said: “This is a really big step up.

“Because this is a new category they couldn’t base selection on scores or results.

“It was all about what they saw of you on training camps, and what you were like as a person – your behaviour, your adaptability, how you fit into the team.

“I just wanted to be myself and do my best.

“And it is thanks to my parents that I’m where I am now.

“They go all over the country with me and make it all possible.”

Chloe Ball sets sights on Rio 2016

Rob Iles 6:00am Thursday 13th February 2014 in Gloucestershire Gazette

 CHLOE BALL’S Paralympic hopes have been reignited.

The 17-year-old, from Kingswood near Wotton-under-Edge, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, is on course to reach Rio 2016 after being named in the Team GB Para-Archery squad.

Touted as a potential Paralympic medal winner in wheelchair racing or wheelchair tennis in her earlier teens, Ball was devastated when she was told to stop due to health problems.

Refusing to give up on her dream, Ball decided to concentrate on archery and now trains at the national centre in Lilleshall twice a week as well as with her club Cleve Archers in Chipping Sodbury.

Ball has also had to overcome injury and illness but insists that the setbacks have simply fuelled her desire to succeed.

She said: “I loved wheelchair racing. To be told you’re really good and then be told you can’t do it made me more determined to find a sport I could still enjoy and still be good at.”

Ball discovered archery at the National Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville – home of the Paralympic Games – three years ago but was twice ruled out for six months when she went into intensive care with glandular fever in 2012 and last year had to have surgery on a thumb she dislocated during her wheelchair racing days.

The former Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School pupil attended a series of Great Britain training camps towards the end of last year before being selected in the brand-new women’s compound W1 category for athletes with a disability affecting their upper and lower limbs, and is now working towards nailing down a spot at Rio in two years.

She said: “It is what I’ve got in my mind. Other people are hoping I should get the scores I need this year and next year. I’ll do what I can to make sure I’m there.

“In the Paralympic classification I am in it has just opened up to women so I feel privileged to be part of it.

“At the moment it’s such a new category, so I’m just settling in and getting used to competing at that level then I will start thinking about the European Championships and World Championships next year, and then Rio is possible.

“My scores need to improve and that will only come with experience and time. I’m quite young for the sport so it doesn’t matter how long it takes.

“You have to be high enough to be gold medal standard because GB Archery are really strong as a team, they always do really well.”

Ball was given extra motivation to reach Rio when she went to the London 2012 Paralympics. She watched her friend Jamie Carter, who she encouraged into wheelchair racing, compete in the Olympic Stadium and also went to the closing ceremony and athletes’ parade.

She said: “It was an inspiration watching the closing ceremony to London and the start of the countdown to Rio.

“The atmosphere isn’t something you experience every day. It gave me a taste of what it would be like. It would be incredible to experience it from the inside rather than the outside.”

________________________________________________________________________________

Chloe Ball-Hopkins

I started Archery at the beginning of 2011, but have had various gaps of time out due to illness and injury.

Focusing on 2013 alone, I had to have surgery to fuse my thumb, and so I didn't begin competitions and training until the outdoor season in April.

My first outdoor competition was the British Wheelchair Archery Association (BWAA) invitational international competition from the 22nd - 27th June where I ompeted in a 720 round at 50 metres, head to head and team events.

The following weekend I competed in the Cleve Archers Fita Star tournament, where I shot a 720 round and head to head on the Saturday and a Fita round on the Sunday in which I scored 1100.

After the competition I began participating in W1 training camps at Lilleshall.  Because W1 women now have a category Archery GB are looking for archers  to fill that role.  These camps will run through until December.

As a W1 archer there were certain equipment changes I had to make.  I will still be using my compound bow, but with a recurve sight and no peep sight.

The weekend after the changeover I competed at St. Kingsmark Bowman Fita and scored 953.  Although this score seems low I had just swapped from one setup to another.  I went to the tournament for more practice with the new setup.

The following Weekend was the Gloucestershire Junior Outdoor Championships where I shot a Short National and scored 518.

Going into the indoor season, my first tournament as a W1 was at the GWAS Regional Championships (Fita 18).  I scored a PB of 537 and was ranked in second place.

The 1st of December was the Gloucestershire County Indoor Junior Championships.  I scored a PB of 557 and became county under 18 junior champion.  I broke the Cleve Archers club record and was 11 points short of the county record.

At the National Junior Indoor Championships at Lilleshall I scored 553 and was ranked fourth.

With regards to the W1 camps I mentioned earlier.  At the  end of the final camp all the athletes involved will be placed at different stages of the Archery GB pathway.  I am hoping one day I can represent Team GB.

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