By Scott Mills
When the 2016 Paralympics in Rio came to an end, not only did it bring the curtain down on Great Britain’s most successful ever Games, it also meant that for most athletes the start of a much needed break was upon them before the start of the winter training block.
However, for IPC World Championship Bronze medallist Abbie Hunnisett, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When the F32 Club thrower secured an excellent fourth-placed finish in her first ever Games with a throw of 19m, she had already switched her focus to working even harder to try and win a gold medal in the 2017 IPC World Championships in London.
Whilst the passionate artist was already working hard, improving and concentrating on reaching her next goal, the athlete did manage to enjoy being part of Paralympic history even if she was already looking ahead to London.
“For me just being at a Paralympics was a dream come true and I was just extremely proud to be representing my country alongside so many other inspirational athletes,” Hunnisett reflected.
“Overall I’m happy with how my performance went in Rio, especially with it being my first Paralympic games.
“Obviously I would have loved to have won a medal or set a new PB but after four years of hard work, you have to perform at your best on the day.
“So considering I felt as though I didn’t have my best day, I still came fourth, but now I am working towards Tokyo where I want to medal.”
As the excitement of having such a successful season in 2016 begins to settle, the athlete who is a keen cooker knows that if she is to achieve the dream of medalling at the World Championships and in Tokyo, she would have to train even harder over the winter period.
Often training three times a week in the gym carrying out extremely tough and intense cardio and resistance sessions alongside daily drill and technical throwing sessions with her coach and father, Mark Hunnisett, the F32 club thrower feels she is ready to start the season on a high.
Hunnisett was also put through her paces by spending a few weeks warm weather training out in the southern coast of Portugal, where she bumped into her Weir Archer Academy teammates- Moatez Jomni, Jamie Carter, Mickey Bushell MBE and JohnBoy Smith.
In fact it was the weeks that both Hunnisett and her coach spent working hard in Portugal that she managed to identify some weaknesses to work on with the new season just around the corner.
“Although warm weather training went well, I always work hard so it’s just part of the routine but it would have been much better if it was hotter,” laughs Hunnisett.
“However, from training out in Portugal, I now know what I need to focus on to get me to the worlds.
“After the excitement of Rio, winter training has been hard work getting back into a routine and trying out new techniques and ways to throw.
“But now we have settled into a routine and things are coming together and this year I want to set a new PB, ideally throwing over 22m, get selected for the Worlds and then to medal.”
Behind the nice, bubbly and friendly personality of this dedicated thrower, there lies a steely determination and desire to succeed and whilst a fourth place finish at her first Paralympic Games for most people is a phenomenal achievement, for Hunnisett it is only the start and if she has her way there will be way more to come.
“Ultimately my goal is to go to Tokyo in 2020 and win a medal,” Hunnisett states.
“My aspiration is to beat the world record in a Paralympics games and my targets are to always focus on improving and setting a new PB.
“I always feel confident going into competitions but it’s all down to how I perform on the day and how I’ve been getting on in training, but I know if I get things right I can medal starting with the World Championships this year.”