A YOUNG archer from Portsmouth has got her sights set on the top after making a quick impression in the sport.
Carla Ayling, who goes to Admiral Lord Nelson School, came first in the National Junior Indoor Championships in Telford.
The 11-year-old took part in the girls’ under-12 recurve event. And while she was hoping to do well, walking away with a medal and trophy was more than she had bargained for.
Ayling said: ‘I’m very impressed with myself and what I achieved.
‘It was a very long day, but it was very exciting, I couldn’t wait for the awards.
‘It was very nail-biting. It was a great feeling winning against those who I was up against.’
Ayling took up archery after a day out with her dad in Cornwall.
It was this family outing that spurred her interest in the sport, and the youngster has gone from strength to strength in each shoot since.
She said: ‘I started a year and three months ago.
‘We went to Cornwall last summer to the Eden Project for the day.
‘They had a stall up for archery and I asked my dad if I could give it a chance – so I had a go and the person who taught me to do it asked me if I was sure I hadn’t done it before and told me that I should join an archery club.
‘The second we got home I went on to the internet and we started looking for clubs to join.’
From there, Ayling joined Havant and Hayling Bowmen – the same archery club as Matthew Cole, who represented England at the European Junior Cup.
She then completed the beginners’ course with the club in October 2010, keen to keep up the great work that she had begun, at just 10 years of age.
Proud father Darren was quick to praise his daughter’s progress, highlighting her achievement – especially against older rivals.
He said: ‘She’s very confident – she’s doing really well.
‘Looking at her, you wouldn’t have thought she was an 11-year-old. The way she acts, she is more like a teenager.’
Ayling has been part of the Havant archery club for 15 months and has excelled in local competition.
She has also recently finished runner-up in the Hampshire Indoor Championship – des-pite taking on many players who were three years older than her.
In her immediate future, Ayling is preparing to take part in the Southern Counties Archery Shoot in March in Crawley.
But the ultimate aims are clear for the confident youngster.
She added: ‘I’d like to conquer the Commonwealth Games or the 2020 Olympics, or even in 2016.’
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