It was a case of third time lucky for Heanor’s Hollie Smith at the weekend as she made her England under 18s archery debut, and turned in some impressive performances in the heat.
The 12-year-old, a pupil at Heanor Gate Science College, was originally selected as a reserve in 2011 and was hoping to go one better when selected last year in the u18s squad for the home nations competition, but the wet weather meant the event had to be cancelled before she had the chance to pull on the England shirt.
But this year there was no stopping the talented youngster as she picked up a pair of silver medals while competing in the under 14s category at the weekend, at the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall.
Proud dad Ian Smith was delighted with how Hollie coped with both the pressure and the heat on her England debut.
He said: “It was an excellent weekend and Hollie gained a second on both days so that was a really good effort.”
On Saturday, the home nations competition took place, with England competing against Wales, Ireland and Scotland, plus she was involved in an individual event too.
On Sunday, it was the Junior National Championships, where Hollie was representing herself.
Hollie first took up archery at the age of eight and changed to the compound discipline of the sport at the age of nine.
Ian explained: “My late father Philip got us all involved in archery, so that’s where the family interest came from and that gave her a good grounding.
“Obviously we were hoping for a good showing at the weekend and maybe to get a medal but it exceeded our expectations to get two silvers.
“It was a great weekend for Hollie and England, who won the Home Nations event.
“Especially in that heat, it was an excellent performance. Not surprisingly, she was physically drained after two very long days.”
Hollie currently represents Derby-based Pastures Archery Club and Darley Bridge-based Derwent Bowmen Archery Club.
She is coached by Simon Scott, and his Derby-based company Reign Bowstrings sponsors her.
Next up is a Junior Masters event, to be held in August at Welbeck, in Nottinghamshire. Ian Smith added: “This is a new thing for the juniors. The seniors have had it in the past. It is an invite-only event for basically the top five per cent of young archers in country so she is looking forward to that.
“Her next aim is to represent Great Britain, now that she’s made her first appearance for England. Hollie’s got a good coach in Simon and she’s taking it all in her stride.”