A CLEAR head is key to Olympic success but archery's Naomi Folkard is fighting to block out the noise after an early team exit at Tokyo 2020. 

Team GB’s women – comprising of Folkard, Sarah Bettles and Bryony Pitman - were knocked out early on day 3 of the Games, beaten by Italy in the last-16. 

They won the first set by a single point but lost the next two and then drew the fourth to eventually go down 5-3. 

Folkard, who is based and trains in Telford, is now looking ahead to the individual competition, where she finished 47th in the ranking round.

She faces China’s Jiaxin Wu in the first round on Tuesday and will need all of her experience to go deep.  

She scored 629 in the ranking round, while Wu hit 652 and finished 18th overall, but Folkard is confident she can deliver as long as she can stay calm. 

“I will take the positives, I hit some good shots out there and will take that into the individuals,” she said. 

“I need focus a little bit on my technique and keep a calm head, that’s the most important thing. 

“I think that the whole emotions and specialness of the Olympics can interfere with the mental side of archery.  

“We have seen many times before how that can affect those who compete, when often the winner is the one who competes as normal.”  

Meanwhile, Bettles, who is also based in Telford, is making her Olympic debut and admits she’s struggled to produce her best under pressure. 

The 28-year-old started strongly and hit 36 from her first four arrows, but two sevens and a six in the final two sets proved costly. 

Bettles qualified 15th for the individual competition and faces Colombia’s Valentina Acosta Giraldo in the first round. 

“There is a lot to learn from this, it looks like my shots are just starting to break down under the pressure on the competition field, so I just need to go back and nail it on the practice field before I come back for the individuals,” said Bettles, who is able to train full-time and benefit from world class facilities, technology, coaching and support teams thanks to National Lottery funding – which has never been more important in getting her to the start line after a turbulent year. 

“In terms of preparation for the heat, just drinking a lot of water and taking an umbrella for a little extra shade because there is no shade on the competition field at all. And to keep my focus out there.” 

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