Issy Bailey’s rapid rise through the ranks is set to take its next step up as she embarks on another Paralympic adventure.
The Cirencester para pistol shooter is one of the first six athletes confirmed in the ParalympicsGB team to compete at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games, beginning on August 24.
Selection marks the latest chapter in Bailey’s remarkable journey, the former hockey player having only been introduced to the sport in 2013 before finishing 14th on her Games debut in Rio just three years later.
Much is expected of the 26-year-old this summer but she takes that all in her stride.
“I’m really pleased,” said Bailey, one of more than 1,100 National Lottery-funded elite athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme.
“I felt really lucky to go to Rio with no expectations on me and to just soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it for the spectacle that it is.
“Five years down the line I’m taking Tokyo a little bit more seriously in terms of competitiveness.
“Our team manager had no expectations that I would even get to Rio, he had me pegged for Tokyo.
“They expect a little bit more of me now and so do I.”
Expectation comes with the territory though, and Bailey is confident as she bids to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997.
Indeed, the para shooting star’s rapid rise has given her access to UK Sport’s World Class Programme, powered by The National Lottery, which allows her to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
“The support of The National Lottery is monumental for us as a team,” Bailey added.
“We are really lucky in that we are really well funded, we can plan the rest of our lives around the sport because we know we are supported by a fantastic team. It gives us a lot of peace of mind and confidence.”
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo