AMBER HILL insists the best is yet to come despite winning a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games.
The Binfield skeet shooter, 20, was representing Team England on the Gold Coast in Australia at the weekend in her second Games as her stock in the sport continues to rise, having also competed at the 2016 Olympic Games.
But she is not happy to settle for second best with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics firmly on her mind.
“I think I’m only just getting started,” said Hill.
“I’m starting to understand myself as an athlete a little bit better now and I’ve got a long road ahead of me so I’ll hopefully get a lot more Olympics in me and just continue to gain that experience.
“Something so special about shooting is we can have a long career and understand ourselves more and more and get to that top level so I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully come away with a lot more medals.”
She added: “Two years ago I thought I had nailed shooting.
“I thought this is easy, I won a couple of competitions and I was on top of the world and I know what I’m doing.
“But it’s only when you go through those tough experiences and when you fail, that’s when you really build up and the more experience I’ve had of those bad moments has made me build as an athlete and become stronger.
“It’s also understanding that mental preparation as well.
“You have to try things and you have to do it wrong so many times before you finally know what works for you and you get it right.
“I’m only just starting to understand that now but it’s definitely a very exciting time ahead for me.”
Hill’s competition in Australia on Sunday was not without fault.
Successive rounds of 23 left her down in fourth spot on the overall leaderboard, only qualifying for the finals by one shot and five off the overall lead.
But she upped her performance later in the day to qualify for the gold medal match against Cypriot Andri Eleftheriou, 13 years her senior.
That proved to be a step too far for Hill as she lost out 52-49.
“The qualification rounds could’ve gone a bit better,” she admitted.
“I wasn’t too pleased. I made some silly mistakes and when I got it wrong, I got it completely wrong.
“But for a final, it all goes back to square one so I knew that that was my opportunity to really dig deep and give it everything and that’s exactly what I did.
“I was up against some really tough competition but I’m starting to get that little bit more experience now and trusting my ability. I definitely think that’s what’s carrying me through.”
Following her medal success, Hill is now enjoying the sights and weather across Australia as the Games continue.
But the level-headed youngster is keen to point out the hard yards that have gone into her latest success, notably the hours of training with coach Joe Neville in Wycombe.
“I’m super happy to be coming home with a medal around my neck because it really is all the hard work that I’ve been putting in at the moment with my coach back home in terrible conditions,” said Hill.
“The Commonwealth Games is a tough event so I’m really proud of my performance.
“But it wouldn’t all be possible without my friends and family being here and all the hard work we’ve been putting in every week.
“It really has led to my success and medals at events like these.”