London 2012: Barracks will bring back memories as Murray aims for gold


When Kate Murray competes in the Paralympic archery event at London 2012, the venue will revive some happy childhood memories.

The event is being held at The Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, where her father was regimental sergeant major more than 50 years ago.

Murray’s family left London when she was eight, but she still remembers playing as a child on the cannons behind the barracks – and “inevitably” getting chased away from them.

It is just one of a series of coincidences that will mark her London 2012 appearance. Her 64th birthday falls on 30 August – the day the archery events begin – and it is 64 years since the last London Olympics.

“It will be really, really strange, all these little coincidences,” she says.

But those coincidences will be put aside when she is competing. “You see that target and that is it,” she says. “You have got to be very, very focused.”

She says that to compete she has to be in “the zone” that many other elite-level athletes talk about. “That only really happens when everything goes quiet and it is just you and the target.”

Although she will be competing against an opponent, her focus will be on her own score. “If my score is better than my competitor, I will win. The competition is really between you and the target.”

London will be her second Paralympic Games, after Beijing, but she has been competing for more than nine years.

Although her status as one of the oldest ParalympicsGB team members is likely to be noticed by the media, Murray says it makes no difference to her team-mates.

“I am an idiot at the best of times and I don’t think I have ever grown up,” she says. “We are all archers together.”

She says she is particularly looking forward to entering the athletes’ village. “You are surrounded by other disabled people. In the village, the ones who are non-disabled are the odd ones out. It’s great, because you have a connection between you.”

The London 2012 Paralympic archery events will take place between 30 August and 5 September.

7 August 2012