A TALENTED 13-year-old has her sights set on achieving her Olympic dream after making a winning start to her international career.

Imogen Newby led England to Home Nations glory after successfully stepping up to the firing line.

The Hedingham School pupil has been shooting arrows since she was eight, competing across the country on an almost weekly basis.

She said: “We found out a couple of months ago I’d be shooting for England.

“On the Friday, I was mainly excited, and couldn’t wait to get started, but the nerves had kicked in a little.

“Then on the Saturday, when we sat down before the first end, I realised, ‘Oh my God, this is happening’.

“The first end is where you always get the nerves out, I told myself ‘Calm, calm, calm’.”

After several closely-fought ends, the contest came down to the final end, with under-14 international glory resting on Imogen’s shoulders.

The youngster, from Braintree Bowmen, said: “Once I go to shoot, I get in the zone, and focus on the target. It’s like I blur everything else out.

“My manager came down, and said ‘It’s on our shoulders, no pressure then’.

“It was one of those moments, you either thrive under the pressure, or you let it bring you down.”

She let fire and then realised what she had managed to do.

Imogen said: “I never jumped so high, screamed so loud, been so happy.

“I was the first one on the podium to collect the trophy, I couldn’t believe it.

It was definitely one of the best days of my life.”

Imogen has been honing her skill since she visited a fair in Brightlingsea.

Her father, Leon, spotted her eyeing up the archery game, and convinced her to give it a go.

“I did OK, but dad says I came off with the biggest smile on my face,” she said.

Dad came straight home and wanted to sign me up, and I haven’t looked backed since.”

Imogen trains or competes six days a week, and admits her one day off is usually taken up by homework or family commitments.

“That’s why I’ve never even thought about stopping, I get to do something I love every day,” she added.

After quickly being recognised as one of the nations brightest archery talents, Imogen has cemented herself as a future Olympic hopeful.

Imogen announced her intentions to her parents on day one, confidently asserting one day she would win Olympic gold after being transfixed by the 2012 London Olympics.

Imogen said: “When I was younger, I used to say 2020, but I’d only be 16 then.

“We sat down and spoke to my coach, who said 2024 might be more achievable, I’ll have more experience, more competition time, and I’ll be older. Then I realised I’d be 20, which shocked me a little.

“I’m so happy, that I got to represent England, it is something I have worked towards for a long time.

“It is an amazing achievement, and I am proud of how hard I have worked to achieve this.

“But it’s just a stepping stone in my Olympic pursuit.”

She is back practising with her eyes fixed on the target.

Imogen is still on the hunt for financial support, with costs of around £6,500 a year to support coaching, travel, equipment and accomodation. 

Anyone who could sponsor Imogen, should contact Leon Newby via leonnewby@gmail.com