Last-gasp golden shot sees Emily edge out fellow Scot in Iceland Open final

Emily Blake has her eye in on the way to winning the Iceland Open Archery Championships
Emily Blake has her eye in on the way to winning the Iceland Open Archery Championships

Stonehaven woman Emily Blake struck gold in the Iceland Open Archery Championships recently, winning the title with the last arrow.

The final was an all-Scottish affair, between Emily and Kirsty Robb.

They were among four archers selected to represent Scotland at the Iceland Open Championships on the weekend of July 20-21.

On the Saturday, Emily, 26, and Kirsty had two of the highest scores in the compound women qualification, with only two points between them, 639 to 637, which meant that they were both through to the semi-finals on the Sunday.

The final then became a contest between the Scots when Emily and Kirsty beat the Icelandic archers Ewa Ploszaj and Anna Maria Alfredsdottir in the semi-finals.

The event was live-streamed on YouTube all weekend, and was very exciting for everyone at home to watch.

Emily and Kirsty tied the first three ends of the gold medal match with the exact same score each time, but Emily then gained a two-point lead as they went into the last end. Kirsty made up the difference in the last end, leaving Emily with the last arrow to shoot – which had to be a 10 to win.

She did it, winning the match 138-137, and bringing home the gold medal.

“It was a really exciting weekend,” Emily told the Mearns Leader this week. “It was the first time the Scottish Archery Association have sent a team abroad in years – we couldn’t figure out the exactly the last date, but we think it has been more than a decade and it was certainly before I started shooting.

“So to bring home a gold medal at the first international shoot was a great achievement.

“Iceland Archery were great hosts and made us feel really welcome so a huge thanks to them for hosting the shoot and having us.

“ Live streaming of the event had been arranged so it was great knowing Family Blake could watch it back home and they were sending messages of encouragement throughout my matches which I think made all the difference.

“The qualification round and the matches were really tight, often with only a point difference which I’m sure was exciting to watch but it kept the pressure on right to the very end.

“I’m really hoping to do some more international shooting in the future – hopefully including a few warmer locations!”

Emily has been a successful archer for 13 years, from being selected to represent the Scotland junior team, to receiving the Hannah Dyson Award for outstanding achievements in archery, and receiving a sports scholarship at Robert Gordon University, where she earned her full blue for archery.

She is now focused on the Scottish Archery Senior Outdoor Championships being held in Glasgow this weekend.

“I’m looking forward to the Scottish Championships this weekend,” Emily added.

“I’m hoping to get another good score so I can claim Grand Master Bowman again this year – it’s the highest classification award you can get at UK Record Status shoots.

“I have two so far this season and need one more to get the three needed for the award this year.

“Around the top one per cent of archers get the GMB scores, so a lot of practice has gone in to get up to that level.”

Mum Joanna added: “The family are all very proud of Emily’s achievements.

“She trains outside every morning at 6am before she goes to work, and shoots in all weathers – she shows such tenacity and commitment, so it’s great to see her do well.”