Jennifer Lawrence’s successful Hollywood exploits initially ignited Heather Hughes’ hunger for archery.
Southport star Hughes, 20, has had an exciting career with a bow in hand, but was first inspired to enter the sport under box office circumstances.
Hughes, who competes for Nethermoss Archers, watched the first Hunger games filming at the age of 11 and decided to go to the shooting range adjacent to her father Peter’s cricket club.
International globetrotting appearances in Greece and Italy followed and Hughes, who wants to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games next summer, says she will always be grateful to Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and the other exploits on big screen.
She said: “I started archery when I was 11 – I watched the Hunger games and I just thought “I want to try this”.
“That’s what got me to the start – my dad played cricket and the archery club was across from the cricket ground.
“After watching the movie, I read the books and got interested in the shoot, so I had to give it a try.
“I did, and it continued – from small competitions to much bigger competitions.
“I’ve always really liked movies and stories in general. The visibility of archery in popular culture is good to see – it’s not as common as football and cricket, but it’s good to see it in the public eye.
“It would be great to see others try the sport and get more people interested in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
“What I love so much about archery is that you can go out on the court, shoot arrows and make great friends that last for many years – it has so many benefits.”
Hughes’ career as an arrow shooter is fueled by an innovative partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and leading sports charity SportsAid.
The funding provides him with access to training, travel and equipment as Hughes charts a route to next summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The Merseyside ace balances his career with a degree in English and Film at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk after studying at Christ the King High School in Southport.
Life in lockdown was an act of juggling, and Hughes admits that the Entain funding injection helped ease the pressure significantly.
“The funding from Entain and SportsAid has helped me a lot to keep going without having to worry about finances,” added Hughes.
“Especially after the coronavirus pandemic. It puts a lot of pressure on people financially, so the funding really helped.
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to champion the next generation of British sports heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to know more.