Plucky Staffordshire schoolgirl archer Alyssia Tromans-Ansell has added yet another string to her bow after clinching a world-class gold title and winning a Youth Olympics place for Great Britain.
Alyssia, aged 16, a student at St Dominic’s Grammar School, Brewood, has a constant battle with a painful medical condition that dashed her dreams of gymnastic stardom – but is now a shining light at archery.
She has just returned from the World Archery Youth Championships in Rosario, Argentina, where she won the gold title in a qualifying competition to secure Great Britain a place in the Ladies’ Cadet section of next year’s Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
Alyssia, who lives in Heath Hayes, Cannock, also stood on the podium to receive a world bronze medal, along with two fellow GB competitors, in the Recurve Cadet Ladies team event of the World Championships. And she came fifth overall in the individual world championships.
She has triumphed despite suffering from chronic regional pain syndrome, which she developed after suffering a sudden severe allergic reaction during a gymnastics training session six years ago.
Alyssia said she was “over the moon” at winning the quota place for Great Britain at next year’s Youth Olympic Games, adding: “I did it in style as well, winning the overall quota tournament. We’ve got a selection shoot to choose who will take up that place and shoot at the Olympics and I’m hoping I’ll get it.”
Alyssia also said: “I progressed through keeping my nerve in a difficult cut, including matches against not only the Korean number one seed and new world record holder San An but also the Korean number five seed Sohui Park. I then met China’s Mengyao Zhang in the gold medal match, determinately winning 7-1.
“Overall I have had an amazing trip, have made many new friends and have enjoyed having the opportunity to spend time with my old friends too. I can bring home a wealth of new experience and many fabulous memories.”
Alyssia praised the support of GB coach Naomi Folkard, her coach at Lichfield Archery Club Harry Heeley and St Dominic’s Grammar School, where staff provide extra support so that she can juggle her elite sport commitments with continually achieving high academic grades as she prepares to take her GCSEs in 2018.
Her mother, Sharon Tromans-Ansell, said: “Again, Alyssia has shown gutsy determination and has done St Dominic’s Grammar School proud. She is a true Dominican. And we can’t thank the school staff enough for accommodating Alyssia’s international sport and allowing her to represent Great Britain.”
Alyssia was a high achiever at gymnastics when she suffered the allergic reaction that led to her developing chronic regional pain syndrome, affecting her ankles and knees.
She had to spend a year on crutches and take strong medication to combat the bone pain.
Although it put paid to her budding success in gymnastics – which had seen her achieve a bronze medal at the West Midlands regional championships in 2011 – Alyssia refused to be beaten.
After an intense pain management course at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, she managed to walk again – and, although gymnastics was out of the question, she resolved to take up archery.
She trains six days a week, as part of Archery GB Confirmation Academy at Lilleshall National Sports Centre and at her club, Lichfield Archers.
She uses a “recurve” bow – as seen in the Olympics – and has to complete strength and conditioning programmes set by her personal trainer and follow dietary advice from a nutritionist.
Louise Hovland, head of sport at St Dominic’s Grammar – a leading independent school which takes boys and girls up to the age of 11 and girls only through to sixth form – donates her office for Alyssia to use as a makeshift gym at morning and lunch breaks.
She said: “I have watched Alyssia grow as a person since she took up archery and have said to her, since she has been competing, that I have no doubt I will see her at the Tokyo Olympics.”