Pitman propelled by Peaty towards Archery World Cup medal heroics

Adam Peaty’s inked, muscle-bound body and the lithe frame of archer Bryony Pitman have more in common than first appears.

Both are gym rats – although Pitman’s Instagram feed is a little more understated.

The gym beats the coffee shop as her favorite hangout near home in Brighton and Peaty pumps iron with the best of them.

It seems they also share a ‘Gladiator Mindset’ and Peaty inspired Pitman to make her own slice of British sporting history at Archery’s World Cup.

First, she also anchored a run to women’s team gold in Turkey, her nation’s first title on the top-level circuit for 14 years.

The 25-year-old struck individual gold in Antalya, Britain’s first individual World Cup medal since 2012.

To top it off, Pitman combined with Alex Wise to win mixed team silver. Britain had never won more than one medal at a World Cup, so it was comfortably the all-time best display.

At the perfect time, Peaty’s inspirational message flicked a switch for his fellow Tokyo Olympian and member of Team GB.

“I think I was already aware that my mental process was something that needed work,” Pitman revealed, “and I feel like I’ve kind of neglected it a little bit over time.

“During our selection event for the World Cup, I was reading Adam’s book.

“One of the biggest things (Adam) talks about a lot is there being no such thing as impossible.

“We’ve had a long time where we haven’t brought back the medals that we’re capable of or expecting as a British team.

“So for me, it was about reminding myself what was possible.”

Pitman put archery to one side after her Olympic debut in Tokyo, focusing solely on her Masters degree in Intelligence and Security.

Fascinated by the history of modern conflict and with a PhD in the subject in the crosshairs at one stage, Pitman is witness to the potential and power of the written word.

She continued: “Having such a clear athlete’s perspective really helped, knowing that was actually what he’d done and wasn’t just what he was suggesting.

“It helped to start shifting how I was thinking about it and going into every day of the shoot with a fresh mind. That stopped me slipping too much.

“It’s a battle out there. I had bad ends but it was a case of realizing there was no reason why that had to happen. I knew I could do it. ”

The south coast native’s decision to down tools after Tokyo saw her restart full training from a low base in February, going to Australia for a successful training camp to kickstart 2022.

But the World Cup selection shoot at Lilleshall in early April, her first competitive outing since the Games, did not go well.

“That whole week at the selection shoot, the weather was so bad and my immediate reaction was that it must have been something I was doing wrong,” she said.

“I started trying too hard and things were slowly getting worse. It was a confidence issue. “

That was where Peaty came in, to remind Pitman of the strength she showed to finish ninth both individually and in the women’s team event on Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Take her first individual shoot as an Olympian, against Taipei’s Tan Ya-ting. She was rank outsider against the Rio bronze medallist and lost the first two ends, but battled back to take victory and reach the Round of 16.

“One of the biggest things I learned in Tokyo was, firstly, that I need to enjoy myself when I’m shooting finals, and then I shoot better,” she said.

“And secondly, even if I’m losing a match, I can come back from it. I was very, very likely to lose my first round in Tokyo with the person I was up against and how the match panned out.

“For me to have come back from that and not mess up, to step up and perform, gave me a lot of confidence.

“I knew in Turkey that it did not matter if I lost a set, I was still capable of going out there and winning.”

For Pitman, the big target this year is the European Championships in Munich in early June and the World Games in July. Her feats in Turkey punched a ticket to October’s World Cup Finals in Mexico, too.

Now, as Peaty would say, nothing feels impossible – particularly where the Olympic Games are concerned.

“I think ultimately, the goal is an Olympic gold medal in Paris. Yeah, ”she said. “And I’ve started now to prove to myself that it could happen.”

Sportsbeat 2022

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