Taverham archer Mel Clarke captures London Paralympics silver
Taverham archer Mel Clarke has won a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympics – losing out on gold with the very last arrow of a tense final.
The Norwich star was beaten to the title in a dramatic final by compatriot Danielle Brown, who successfully defended the compound title she won in Beijing four years ago with a 6-4 victory at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
But silver represents an upgrade for Clarke, who took Paralympics bronze in China.
The Britons could not be separated early on, scoring 27-27 in the first set and 29-29 in the second before three arrows of nine saw Brown, who was shooting first, take a 4-2 lead.
Clarke responded to take the fourth set 29-26 and level at 4-4 to force a fifth. She required a maximum 10 score on the final arrow to win, but she shot a seven – her worst arrow of the final – as the pressure told and Brown won.
“It’s unreal – to get through to the final was brilliant,” said a beaming Clarke. “To shoot against another Brit in the final was incredible and I shot really well. I’m really proud.”
As for Brown, she was just relieved she did not have to take the final shot: “That helps a lot. My arrows had all gone and she had to play catch-up, as it were. It was a 10 to tie the set and then we would’ve had to do a one-arrow shoot off.
“I’ve been really feeling the pressure the last couple of weeks, so to actually come here and manage to keep my head in the right place, I’m chuffed to bits about that.
“It’s been crazy. I didn’t think it would have affected me the way it has.”
In the semi-finals, Brown claimed a 6-2 semi-final success over Marina Lyzhnikova and Clarke beat Stepanida Artakhinova, another Russian, 6-0.
Artakhinova claimed bronze with a 7-3 defeat of her team-mate Lyzhnikova.