2024 Para Archer selection Jono Milne Ameera Lee with Governor General David Hurley at Admiralty House, Sydney.

Australia’s biggest Paralympic Games archery team in 40 years unveiled was at a memorable event at Admiralty House in Sydney, hosted by Paralympics Australia’s Patron-in-Chief the Governor-General David Hurley and Mrs Linda Hurley.

NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athletes Jono Milne and Ameera Lee, along with Taymon Kenton-Smith, Amanda Jennings, Melissa Tanner and Patrick French were named as the six Para archers to compete for Australia at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

“It’s definitely and honour to still get to put on the green and gold, go represent Australia and try and do us all proud. I’m out there as an individual but its definitely the team that gets me here. So a lot of praise goes to the team and everything they do,” Paralympic bronze medallist Jono Milne said.
Their Excellencies, who are ardent supporters of the Australian Paralympic Team, presented a framed Coat of Arms and beret to each athlete as they were announced by Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin.
Also in attendance were Paralympics Australia President Alison Creagh and representatives from Archery Australia, alongside guests representing Major and Official Partners of Paralympics Australia.  

The last time Australia had seven archers qualify for the Paralympics was in 1976. The six-strong team to compete in Paris 2024 is the largest since 1984.  

Australia has won just three gold medals in archery at the Paralympic Games, one in 1960 and two in 1968. Milne’s bronze medal in 2016 remains Australia’s only podium result in four decades.

National Para-archery coach Ricci Cheah said this squad had the ability to secure breakthrough results.  

“Jono will be a pretty good medal chance because the way that he is shooting currently places him in the top percentile,” Cheah said. “He needs to be able to replicate what he’s doing here at home. If he can catch a lucky break, if it’s his day, then that’s a medal chance for sure.  

“Besides that, as well, there’s our mixed teams. In the compound, Jono with either Ameera or Mel will be a good chance for a team medal. In the mixed teams for recurve, there’s a good chance of getting to the quarter finals or even semis, but both AJ and Taymon need to shoot well.”

Cheah has been a driving force in the resurgence of Para-archery after Australia didn’t field any archers at Beijing 2008 or London 2012.  

“I’m always pleased with progress, no matter how small or how big. But, like other coaches, I’m a bit greedy and always want more,” he said.  

“But I am pleased with everyone, the athletes, the staff. Building up a group of assistant coaches in Para-archery was important to me after Tokyo.  

“As an Archery Australia program, it’s been really big learning process. We had a massive influx of participants after Tokyo and we’ve had to work out what to do with them and how to build them up.

“After these Games there’s always more plans and more development, trying to make the team bigger and of course aiming for the 2032 Games.”

McLoughlin, the Chef de Mission, said archery had been one of the success stories of the cycle since the Tokyo Games.  

“Consistently strong results in global competition, including Australia’s first ever Para-archery world championship gold medal, have been a fair reward for enormous effort and pursuit of excellence by everyone associated with the program,” McLoughlin said.  

“The athletes selected to represent Australia at the Paris Paralympics have had to work extremely hard to be picked in this squad, such is the depth of talent that has emerged under the expert guidance of Ricci and his team.

“Congratulations to the squad named today. It will be a spectacular competition at Esplanade des Invalides and we can’t wait to see you all in action.

“I’d also like to add that this has been a very special team announcement. On behalf of Paralympics Australia, I would like to thank Their Excellencies for hosting a wonderful event today and also sincere gratitude for their long-standing support of our Paralympic teams.”

The six Para-archers named for the Paris Paralympics were:

  • Jonathon Milne, a bronze medallist at Rio 2016 who will compete at his third Paralympic Games.
  • Taymon Kenton-Smith, selected for his second Paralympic Games.
  • Amanda Jennings, a Rio 2016 Para-canoe silver medallist and two-time Paralympian who transitioned to archery after Tokyo 2020.  
  • Ameera Lee, who narrowly missed selection for Tokyo 2020 and will make her Paralympic debut in Paris.
  • Melissa Tanner, a former canoeist who will make her Paralympic debut.
  • Patrick French, a rising star who will make his Paralympic debut.  

Article courtesy of Paralympics Australia

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