INTERNATIONAL archer Lucy O’Sullivan has discussed the harsh reality of competing away from home after making her return to elite competition for the first time since the pandemic began.
The Islander made a somewhat bitter-sweet comeback for Hampshire at the National County Team Championships. The trip bore fruit, with victory in the mixed compound event, but it also served to underline the point that opportunities remain limited due to a lack of funding in the sport.
‘It’s really difficult living on Island to get away and compete the amount I would like,’ said the former World Championships archer.
‘The cost of trips is increasing year upon year and I don’t receive any support over here to travel and compete.
‘When all the costs associated with getting away have to be self-funded, it really becomes impossible to shoot in every competition I would like to.
‘I have to ask myself questions like “do I pay my mortgage, or do I go away for a weekend to compete.”’
With competition opportunities few and far between, O’Sullivan now has her sights set on the British Indoor Championships in December.
‘I will just keep pottering on at home until then and try to keep my shooting sharp.
‘Archery is a sport without any real retirement age, which is my saving grace.
‘Maybe down the line I will be in a more financially stable position and able to fund more trips away to showcase my skills.
‘Until then, I’ll keep working hard on my craft at home and try to make the most of the limited opportunities I have to get away and compete.’
Along with fellow Islander Francis Rocha, the pair were selected to represent the county at Lilleshall NSCC.
Rocha secured the win in the men’s team compound competition, along with two of his county team-mates, while O’Sullivan claimed a dramatic victory in the mixed category – where the highest seeded man and woman in each county are paired together after qualifying.
The Caesarean and her team-mate, Luke Davis, defeated a pair of Team GB archers in the shape of Durham and Northumberland’s Elizabeth Foster and Dilon Crow in the final.
‘It was such an amazing feeling to be back competing,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘I have missed that feeling of being out there so much and to win against such a strong pair in the final shows that I can still do it.
‘We were taking on people who medalled at the World Cup earlier this year, so to get through against them is brilliant and proves to people that there are talented people in Jersey.’