Penny Healey, the teenage archery sensation from Team GB, credits her love for the sport to the Disney classic, “Brave.” Inspired by the fierce and independent Merida, who uses her archery skills to lift an ancient curse, 19-year-old Healey saw a role model who helped boost her confidence. “Seeing a strong female character was heroic to me. I wanted to be inspiring to others just like Merida,” Healey shared.

Healey’s journey to becoming one of the world’s top archers is nothing short of remarkable. From her Telford roots to reaching the pinnacle of the world rankings last year, her success story includes winning gold at the European Games and securing Team GB a coveted spot at the Paris 2024 Olympics. “Watching London 2012 gave me the motivation,” Healey confessed, adding that she never imagined she’d have a real shot at the Olympics until recently.

Coming from a Shropshire farm with a menagerie of animals, including her mischievous emu, Freddie, Healey finds solace and companionship in their company. Particularly during the isolating Covid-19 lockdowns, archery became a therapeutic escape for Healey, helping her manage anxiety. “Archery helps take my mind off things, getting me outdoors rather than staying inside all day,” she explained.

As she prepares for Paris, Healey hopes to compete alongside her talented teammate, 16-year-old Megan Havers, in Turkey next month. “We have a great bond and shoot well together. Megan’s energy is really refreshing,” Healey said, expressing confidence in their teamwork.

Healey’s journey has not been without its challenges. Her early years in the sport were supported significantly by her grandparents, particularly her late grandmother Patricia. “Without my family’s support, I couldn’t have achieved this,” Healey admitted, emphasizing her gratitude.

Funded by the National Lottery’s World Class Programme, Healey, along with over 1,000 elite athletes, benefits from top-tier training, coaching, and medical support on her path to Olympic glory. Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s cheer for Penny Healey as she aims for the stars in Paris 2024!

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Sources: Daily Express (original article by Tom Harle).