Island archery champion Rusty Kneale-Barrow is looking to put a frustrating but successful year behind her as she targets the London 2012 Paralympics.
Although she still scored some impressive results, Rusty endured several injuries and damage to her equipment during 2010.
April saw her travel to the US to take part in the Arizona Cup in Phoenix, a major international able-bodied and disabled event, where she was placed second in the disabled class and lost to the eventual winner in the able-bodied tournament. However, while at the airport in Phoenix waiting to return home, she had an accident which saw her fall from her wheelchair – and when she arrived in Manchester, she discovered her archery equipment had been damaged in transit.
She missed the next two events in the UK, although she returned at a competition in Telford with a hastily repaired bow, where her results in the double 70-metre FITA were understandably lower than usual.
June saw Rusty win the Lancashire Championships Visitor Trophy, along with the double 70-metre FITA. She followed this in July with the Cheshire FITA Star, where she finished 10th, and a premier event at Clophill, where she finished 14th and 15th in the double 70-metre and a head-to-head challenge, fine results in what is one of the largest able-bodied shoots of the year.
She then claimed second at the International Grand Prix at Stoke Mandeville, a disabled event with teams from around the globe, including the USA and China.
Sadly, Rusty then suffered serious injuries in a car accident. Firefighters had to cut her from the car and it took three hours to stabilise her condition.
She returned to action in August, at Norfolk, although not fully fit, and suffered another setback when she was thrown from her wheelchair and dislocated her shoulder.
September saw her return to competition at the final shoot of the year in Edinburgh, where she placed 11th overall in the able-bodied double 70-metre FITA and second in the disabled section.
‘It’s been a tough year, in terms of injury, but there were some great successes mixed in there too,’ said Rusty. ‘Hopefully I’ve got all my injuries out of the way in one go, and can now focus on 2011, all the time preparing for London 2012 which is the major goal now. I am delighted that the Steam Packet Company is continuing to support me.’
Rusty’s coach, Joe Saxon, said: ‘I can’t remember any athlete having so many problems in the same year. But she continued to compete, even though her scores were lower than expected, and she showed the kind of grit and determination that we have come to expect from Rusty.’
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Rusty is a great international ambassador for the Island, competing around the UK and further afield, and we’re delighted to continue to support her efforts. She showed great resilience this year to come back from her injuries and I’m sure she’ll be giving it her all as she prepares for the 2012 Paralympics.’