Tokyo was great - now for Paris, says Sussex Olympian Pitman
Bryony Pitman is already counting the days to Paris after her Olympic experience concluded in Tokyo, writes James Toney.
The 24-year old Shoreham archer went further than any team-mate in the individual competitions but saw her campaign ended by Russian Elena Osipova just short of the quarter-finals. Pitman started with a perfect score before she slipped behind Osipova, who shot an impressive 87 out of 90 across three sets.
"It's been absolutely incredible. Even though I'm upset currently, coming ninth in my first Olympic Games is still a great achievement," said said after a contest broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+. "It's bittersweet. I know I could have done a lot better but she also shot near perfect so it was always going to be a tough match.
"I just wish I could have kept up a bit more or put some more pressure on. I've gone from strength to strength, even with all the Covid restrictions in place, I've still really enjoyed myself. It's been fantastic and I can't wait for Paris 2024."
Pitman admits she's been bowled over by support from home, with friends and family - and new fans - sending her messages on social media.
Great Britain haven't won an archery medal since the 2004 Games in Athens but Pitman is confident the team are on track to end that run in three years. And she needs no reminding about the strong statistic that those competing at their second Games usually improve their performance.
"There is so much confidence I can take away from this event," added Pitman, who is able to train full-time and benefit from world class facilities, technology, coaching and support teams thanks to National Lottery funding. I've gone from strength to strength this year, coming back from having no internationals, and my individual placings have improved at each one.
"I am really happy and looking forward to going forward and seeing what comes next. It's been a great experience in being on the final field and shooting every match on that. It's usually only the semi-finals and finals so it was great to experience doing that.
"It's just a case of small differences between it going wrong. So it's a case of rewatching those videos, seeing if there was anything technical and I know there is a bit of mental work to do as well.
"I probably wasn't in the same state of mind today as I was a few days ago. A massive thank you to everyone who has supported me. I haven't really been on social media but I have seen that I've had some messages, before and during the Games."
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £36 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #MakeAmazingHappen