Vennard can't believe she's on brink of Paralympic debut in London
BRITISH archer Sharon Vennard admits that not so long ago London 2012 felt like a lifetime away - but now that's she's on the brink of her Paralympic debut she has to keep pinching herself to believe her luck.
The 50-year-old has been involved in archery since 1997 but she didn't enter the British Paralympic set-up until 2009 - and even then London 2012 was the furthest thing from her mind.
Since then however, a string of impressive results, including team gold at the prestigious Stoke Mandeville Open in 2011 and a sixth-place finish at the World Championships in Turin last year, Vennard is all set to make an impact on the Paralympic stage.
But, rather than target Paralympic gold, Vennard insists she will leave London 2012 a happy woman and with a smile on her face, regardless of the outcome.
"These are my first Games. I came to the British squad in 2009, and then it just seemed so far away from 2012," said Vennard.
"Now we're suddenly here and it's so close - it's really sinking in. When I was told I was selected there was absolute euphoria, but it still seemed far away.
"My husband [Norman] and daughter [Laura Hayes] will be coming down which will be so special. It's one of those things that even in the midst of the thousands of people who are in the stands, I think it's most special that those two are there."
That is not to say that Vennard will not be going hell for leather in pursuit of a place on the London 2012 podium, nor that Great Britain's chances are minimal - indeed they will be among the medal contenders next month.
She added: "Obviously I would love to get a medal but if I can come out of the Games and think ‘I shot the best that I could' then I think there's not much more you can do. I want to just enjoy the experience.
"A home Games will never happen again in my lifetime. The whole build-up has been really nice; I have to keep pinching myself about going."
© Sportsbeat 2012