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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Williamson hints at rethink
By Phil Gordos
BBC Sport in Athens

British archer Alison Williamson has been urged to abandon all talk of retirement after winning a bronze medal at her fourth Olympics.

Alison Williamson celebrates her bronze medal

The 32-year-old from Shropshire had intended to quit after the Athens Games to focus on her career as a primary school teacher in London.

But after finishing on the podium in the women's individual 70m event, Williamson hinted she may be having second thoughts.

"About a year ago I thought Athens would be the end of the road for me," she said.

"But I've had a good year. I got a silver at the Europeans, a silver at a European Grand Prix and now a bronze here, so I'm starting to think maybe there's more."

Great Britain performance director Barry Eley believes Williamson has not yet hit her peak and hopes she decides to carry on.

"Every time she goes to an Olympics she gets better, so maybe it will be gold in Beijing," he told the BBC Sport website.

"I hope she doesn't retire because she is a great ambassador for British archery."

That last arrow was absolutely nerve-wracking, but Alison held it together right to the end
Barry Eley
GB performance director

South Korea claimed a 1-2-3 in the event four years ago and were odds on to repeat that feat in Athens.

But third seed Yun Mi-jin was beaten in the quarter-finals and Williamson eventually defeated her conqueror, Chinese Taipei's Shu Chi Yuan, in the bronze medal play-off.

"That last arrow was absolutely nerve-wracking, but Alison held it together right to the end," said Eley.

Williamson needed her opponent to score seven or less with her final effort to take the bronze - and Yuan duly obliged to lose out by just one point.

"I could see that nerves were starting to get the better of the other archer," added Eley. "The same thing was happening to Alison, but she is a trooper."

South Korea still claimed gold and silver, Park Sung-hyun defeating Lee Sung-jin on the final arrow, but Britain were able to celebrate their first archery medal since 1992.

The next challenge is to end South Korea's stranglehold of the sport, the Asians having now won gold in the women's individual event at the last six Olympics.

But don't expect Williamson to emulate their training methods.

In preparation for Athens, the South Koreans were told to bungee jump, dive off a 10m platform and hike 20 miles in the middle of winter.

"Conquering fear was a key aim," said a team official.

The tactic clearly works, but is bungee jumping any scarier than facing a classroom full of five-year-olds?





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