Amber Hill: Skeet shooter excited for Tokyo even without overseas fans

Amber Hill competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics
Amber Hill reached the semi-finals of the women's skeet at the Rio Olympics in 2016

Amber Hill believes the Olympics will still have a special atmosphere even if overseas spectators and potentially their families will not be able to go.

"It's a real shame, but I completely understand the reasons," she said.

"But I know my family and friends are always watching and supporting no matter what time and where it is."

Hill, 23, put herself in contention for Tokyo selection after winning gold in the women's skeet at the World Cup in New Delhi, India on Sunday.

Her victory with a world record performance guaranteed Great Britain a Games quota place in women's skeet.

Having made her Olympic debut in Rio in 2016, before winning Commonwealth silver in 2018, the Berkshire athlete hopes it will see her added to the already-confirmed team for Tokyo.

Each competing country is allocated a maximum number of places across all shooting events at the Olympics, with qualification determined by performances at International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) competitions.

"It was super emotional," Hill told BBC South Today of the win in New Delhi. "Having spent so long during lockdown not even being allowed onto the range and working with my support team and British Shooting to be back ready to compete, it was a special feeling.

"But I would have never anticipated a gold medal, a world record and going to world number one in the same day. Everything I had been working towards for so long just seemed to happen on one day."

While Hill can begin focusing on hopefully taking her place at the delayed Tokyo games, Japanese authorities confirmed on Saturday that international fans will not be permitted to travel to either the Olympics or Paralympics because of ongoing concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I know the support is always there whether it's my family or my followers on social media," she said.

"It will be different, but I feel Team GB will do all they can to keep up that support from home."

Amber Hill with her skeet World Cup gold medal
Amber Hill beat Kazakhstan's Zoya Kravchenkoi in a shoot-off to win women's skeet gold at the World Cup

'People want to hype you up'

Hill's attitude towards embracing the interaction she receives from social media contrasts with other Olympic athletes who have previously spoken of their decision to block it out in the build-up to the games.

Great Britain's gold medal-winning women's hockey team made a collective decision to come off social media before Rio 216.

"I don't try to come off my social media," said Hill. "I don't want to be fearful of it and I feel I get such positive feedback and people encouraging me to do my best.

"You're always going to get one person on there leaving a negative comment, but I just focus my energies on the positive stuff.

"There's just so much good feeling out there and people do genuinely want to hype you up and say how well you've done.

"You've got to be strong-minded really and focus on the good."

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