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Britain’s Ella Gibson has backed herself to one day become the greatest female compound archer after dislodging the current “G.O.A.T.” as world number one.
The 22-year-old this week capped a remarkable rise in the sport by shooting to the top of the global rankings on the back of her stunning gold at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
Formidable Colombian Sara Lopez had previously held the number one spot for almost four years.
Gibson, who defeated Lopez in the world final in the United States in the first contest between the pair, has been in outstanding form in 2022 and is determined to push on.
“It’s been a little bit of a crazy year, to be honest – definitely a lot better than I was expecting,” Gibson told the PA news agency.
“It was important that when I took the world number one spot I did it by actually having to face her (Lopez) because you could technically be ranked number one having never shot against her, which wouldn’t feel quite right.
“Most people in archery do view her as the G.O.A.T. for women’s compound.
“She’s been world number one for four years but even before then she’s been really consistently up there winning medals.
“You can only really be regarded as the greatest of all time if you are there for a good period of time and you’re consistently winning World Cups, multi-sport events, the World Championships, so I still have a lot to go.
“Just because I am ranked number one in the world doesn’t mean I necessarily view myself as the best right now but one day I will get there.
“I want to be the best in the world, not just world number one, be known as the best in terms of all personal goals.”
Gibson, from Cirencester in Gloucestershire, claimed the European Indoor title in February- her first major individual win on the international stage – before clinching golds at World Cup events in Antalya and Paris.
She took up archery following a taster session at school eight years ago and only began competing at senior level in 2019, with the coronavirus pandemic hampering progress in 2020.
“Objectively it’s been quite a fast upwards trend for me; subjectively I feel like it could’ve been faster,” said Gibson, who this week is competing in stage four of the 2022 World Cup in Medellin, Colombia.
“But I’m a little bit impatient at that kind of thing. I always want to be the best right now and that’s just not realistic, it takes time.
“I’ve only had 2019, 2021, 2022 to compete as a senior, so three years to become world number one, I’m pretty happy with, I’d say.”
Compound archery is not currently an Olympic sport, albeit World Archery has proposed adding it to the programme for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
Gibson – who was “definitely not sporty” during her school days but excelled academically – aspires to raise the profile of her discipline, particularly from a female perspective.
“I want to help be part of this woman’s movement in archery of bringing us to a higher level and all of us pushing each other to actually become a really competitive category,” she said.
“In the past we have really not been competitive. It was mainly before my time but 10 years ago our level was really low and we weren’t necessarily respected as much as other categories, in terms of the men.
“I want to help change that and actually show that we are competitive, we are worth the sponsorship contracts, and that we are capable of shooting the same scores and the same level as the men.
“It’s going to be a long-time thing and require a lot of us to shoot at a high level but I definitely think it’s possible.”