Bevis lives up to the pressure to take Paralympic bronze medal
PARALYMPIC bronze medallist James Bevis admitted has never experienced greater pressure than his outing at London 2012 – but said it was all worth it.
Teignmouth-based Bevis was narrowly edged out of the silver medal position after shoot-off in the mixed R5 10m air rifle prone SH2 competition, having finished the final in joint-second.
It took a new Paralympic record from Ukrainian Vasyl Kovalchuk to secure the gold, while Bevis was beaten to silver by just 0.1 of a point against France's Raphael Voltz.
A former world number one, Bevis had targeted gold in the run-up to the competition.
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But speaking to the Herald Express after the competition, Bevis admitted he had not anticipated the pressure he would face in competing as a home athlete.
"You don't realise how much pressure is on your until you actually get here – so I'm definitely happy with a medal," he said.
"I could see on the screen that I was coming up through the leaderboard – I wasn't sure if it was a good thing to be looking, but it was a bit addictive.
"But with all the pressure, you're just glad to get through it."
Bevis said the margin between silver and bronze in the shoot-off was very small, though he was still delighted with his medal.
"If you were to see that on paper it's unmeasurable – but it looks a lot on the screen," he said.
"I've only just been able to look at the medal and thinking how good it is to have one. The amount of pressure and stress I've been under has been incredible – but it's all worth it."
Bevis was this week staying on in the Paralympic Village to enjoy the rest of the games and support friends taking part in other disciplines, before returning to Teignmouth next week.
The 36-year-old was also part of the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium – where he fulfilled a promise by blowing a kiss into the television cameras.
"My girlfriend had told me to blow her a kiss so I went up to the camera and said 'I love you' and blew her a kiss," he said.
"I missed the chance in Beijingas we didn't really know where the cameras were, but it was such a slow walk round this time that I definitely wasn't going to miss it."
Bevis was supported by a group of family and friends – and said the experience was just as stressful for them.
"They went home absolutely shattered from the stress of watching me," he said.
"But they said that they couldn't have had a better time and I couldn't have been happier that they were there."
Bevis, who also competed in Beijing, said the atmosphere in London was even more intense thanks to the support of the home crowd.
He added: "It was overwhelming – it's a 10-minute walk from our apartment to the stadium and it took two hours.
"Your second time round is different to your first time and I thought it wasn't going to be as good as Beijing, but the atmosphere was incredible.
"The roar when we went into the stadium was deafening."
There was disappointment for Newton Abbot's air-pistol shooter Adrian Bunclark, who finished second to last in his discipline