Newport's Elena Allen backing Team GB after her own disappointment
7:52pm Sunday 29th July 2012 in Sport
ELENA Allen admitted the occasion got the better of her as she limped out of the London 2012 Olympics – but she called on her fellow British shooters to rise to it at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Newport-based Allen, 40, has already sampled the Olympic atmosphere at Beijing 2008, but in the London 2012 skeet competition she could only manage three scores of 20 across her three rounds, ensuring she ended qualification down in 14th place – well off the top-six finish required to reach the final.
The USA’s Kim Rhode set a new Olympic record and equalled her own world record en route to gold in the final, but by that stage Allen was already scratching her head, wondering how her London 2012 campaign had already been and gone.
"[It was] terrible! My worst competition in years – and it’s all my fault," said Allen, who also finished 14th in Beijing. "I just didn’t cope well with the pressure.
"With all the excitement and the crowds I was more concerned with the noise and it affected my concentration. I tried hard to put those thoughts out of my head but couldn’t.
"I felt great coming out at the start, ready to shoot. I shot the first three and then the crowd erupted. The thing is we’re not used to those sorts of crowds – it’s not that it’s unwelcome, but it’s unusual. It was a different pressure from Beijing because there the crowds mainly cheered for their local shooters and if you’re not local you don’t have to deal with that."
Fellow Brit Georgina Geikie didn’t fare much better in the 10m air pistol competition, ending the qualification round 47th out of 49 competitors, while on Saturday Jennifer McIntosh also failed to reach the final.
But Great Britain still have eight shooters waiting to get their campaigns under way in east London – and Allen, who won European silver in 2005, has urged her team-mates to exploit home advantage better than she did.
"We have a strong team and I just hope the others can do the job and not get affected by the crowds," she added.
"It’s difficult to prepare for something that you don’t usually experience. I’ll take some lessons from the experience.
"Next I’ll have some time out but I’d like to carry on for many more years."
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