By Gareth James
Dave Phillips has been praised for his patience as well as his skills in earning a place in the Great Britain squad for the Paralympics this summer.
The Welsh archer won a spot on the GB team this week – almost two years after he first thought he had landed a bullseye with selection.
Although Phillips earned his place at the 2019 World Para-archery Championships in the Netherlands, his slot on the team could not be confirmed until after classification was completed – meaning he wasn’t included as part of the archery team announcement back in April.
With the pandemic forcing delays, his confirmed classification was not resolved until last month in Lausanne.
Phillips spent most of 2020 shielding at his home in Cwmbran, meaning he couldn’t train with his teammates at the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall.
He set up a home gym in his conservatory and joined regular virtual chats to maintain his training. Although not seeing his new grandchild or his father was especially hard, he had enjoyed spending extra time with his wife of 34 years.
Paralympic Team Leader Tom Duggan said: “I’m delighted that we are now able to announce Dave as our fifth archer following his classification re-evaluation.
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— ParalympicsGB (@ParalympicsGB) June 8, 2021
“Dave has worked hard to achieve selection over the past two years and I know he will be raring to go in Tokyo.”
Archery’s final Qualifying Tournament for the Paralympic Games is scheduled to take place in July with a number of British athletes still looking to secure a spot in the ParalympicsGB team.
Phillips will join the four other members of the squad named so far – Paralympic gold medallists Jess Stretton and John Stubbs, along with Nathan Macqueen and Hazel Chaisty.
Commenting on the announcement, Phillips said: “Not being able to tell people has been a little overwhelming as it’s been nearly two years since I qualified.
“But I’m a glass half full person and because of Covid I’ve had 365 days more to prepare, making me even more determined to perform strongly.”
He’s now focussed on Tokyo and says he’s learnt a lot since he competed at Rio where he finished fifth as part of the mixed team.
— Dave Phillips (@Daphillips2266) March 10, 2020
“Archery is a sport of repetition so I know I need to stick to the process that has served me well to date and with skill and a bit of luck I hope to bring home a medal,” he added.
Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe said: “I am delighted to confirm Dave’s selection to ParalympicsGB.
“A massive congratulations and welcome to the team Dave!
“With five archers now confirmed for Tokyo 2020 we can’t wait to see the whole squad perform on the world stage.”