They say good things come to those who wait, and British archery star Hazel Chaisty can finally start planning for her Paralympics dream having been named in the Great British squad heading for Tokyo. 

The 48-year-old has been confirmed as one of the four archers with a guaranteed seat on the plane, alongside Paralympic gold medallists Jess Stretton and John Stubbs, and Rio 2016 veteran Nathan MacQueen. 

Unlike her counterparts Chaisty will be making her long-awaited Games debut at this summer’s rescheduled event, having been blighted by injury in the run-in five years ago and then seen Covid-19 put paid to her Tokyo plans for an extra 12 months. 

And now with less than four months to go and her selection confirmed the Glossop shooter admits she can breathe a big sigh of relief – and start preparing to take her chance on sport’s biggest stage with both hands. 

“My heart’s been going like a steam train recently, and my shoulders have been round my ears with stress and excitement all mixed together. Now I can just power forward and focus,” said Chaisty, one of over 1,100 National Lottery-funded elite athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme. 

“It’s taken seven years for me to get to a Paralympics, so this is my time to shine. I had a similar injury to the one that affected me before Rio just a couple of years ago, so actually the extra year may have worked in my favour. 

“It meant I could churn away in the background and get myself nice and fit. All the niggles that I have had are gone now, I’m getting back to the peak of my performance and I’m ready to go.”

Despite her lack of Paralympics experience Chaisty isn’t stepping into the unknown, having travelled to Rio as part of UK Sport’s Paralympic Inspiration Programme and witnessed the demands of the Games first-hand. 

Ranked No.6 in the women’s recurve open rankings and having claimed an individual gold and mixed team silver at the Fazza Para Archery World Ranking Tournament in Dubai in April 2019, she is clear she isn’t looking to make up the numbers where it matters most. 

Chaisty - who is looking to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997 - added: “I want to come home with a medal – I don’t think you should be competing if you’re not looking to win something shiny. 

“I’m just focused on performing the best I can – if I shoot to the best of my ability and someone beats me, then I’ll hold my hands up and say fair play. 

“I’ve seen what a ‘normal’ Paralympics looks like, and although this one will be different, I do feel ready. Since last July we’ve been training as normal, and we’re all eager to go out there and give it our best.” 

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