Worth aiming high in archery competition

ALL FOCUS: Australia's Taylor Worth at the 2012 Games.
ALL FOCUS: Australia's Taylor Worth at the 2012 Games. Marcio Jose Sanchez

THERE was excitement tinged with sadness for Taylor Worth when Australia's three-man men's archery team was announced.

Brisbane-based Worth was in it, but not his great mate and mentor Matthew Gray.

"Four of us who were in the running for the final three spots are all close mates,” he told Australian Regional Media. "Unfortunately, four doesn't go into three really well.

"It was always going to be hard to say goodbye to someone.

"When I was told I was being nominated for the Olympic team in that third spot, it was a bitter-sweet moment, because my first thought was how was Matt, how is he going.

"Rather than celebrating my spot, I was worried about my teammate and good friend.”

Worth was 19 when he joined Gray in the men's team to win gold at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.

"He's been amazing ... a major support for me over the years,” Worth said of the 42-year-old three-time Olympian (1996, 2000, 2008).

"I hope he's really doing well at the moment and I hope we don't lose him to the sport after this.”

Joining Worth in Rio will be Victorian Alec Potts and Queenslander Ryan Tyack.

Worth said it would be good to be part of a team again after going to London as Australia's sole male archer, when he beat American World No.1 Brady Ellison on the way to finishing ninth in the men's recurve.

"We've gotten a lot closer working together as a team,” he said.

"If someone's having an off day, we know how to either give them space when they need it or help pick them up when they need it.

"I've got the experience of going to an Olympic Games, a multi-sport event, so I can pass on cues and helpful hints for in and around the village, but the other two guys on the team are very experienced as well.

"They know exactly what they need to do in competition.”

It hasn't been an easy ride for Worth, however. He relocated from his home in Perth to Brisbane two years ago to work more closely with national coach Ya Ping Shih.

"There were plenty of moments when I didn't think this was going to happen in these past four years, from not being sure whether I would continue competing after London to having a rocky finish to our selection procedure,” he said.

"I've gone from almost a career-worst (performance) at the first World Cup event this year in China (when 57th) to one of my career bests (ninth, again in Shanghai).

"I've had a very up and down season so far.”

Having claimed the quota spot for the team event in Rio when they were eighth at the 2015 world championships in Copenhagen, the Aussie trio competed at the Rio test event to familiarise themselves with the Sambodromo, where the famous Carnival is held.

It will be another unique experience for Worth, who competed at Lord's cricket ground in 2012.

"Being able to walk out on to Lord's - the hallowed turf - where no other sport in history has competed on apart from cricket, it was an awesome experience,” he said.

Topics:  archery sportfeature

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