BY outperforming expectation, overcoming nerves and remaining focused, a local athlete has placed herself among the very elite in her field.
Alyssa Mollema recently travelled all the way to Madrid, Spain, to take part in the archery Youth World Championships - and produced an incredible performance.
She finished ninth out of 49 in the individual event, eighth out of 13 as part of the Australian girls' squad, and third [from nine] in the mixed competition.
Incredibly, in the latter of those events she actually equalled the world record against Mexico, only for their opponents to go one better and break it moments later, sending the Muswellbrook local and her team-mate out in the process.
The 16-year-old is still incredibly proud of her achievements though, and said she's still trying to comprehend the fact she's officially one of the best 10 young archers in the entire world.
"I was extremely happy with how I went," she stated.
"I was quite surprised because I was hoping for the top half in my division and I ended up getting ninth.
"It's kind of just hitting me I guess, it took a very long time to sink in."
On top of showing her talents off at extremely high level, she also got to experience the wonders of the Spanish capital, which she said was an amazing opportunity.
"It was nothing like I thought but it was actually a lot better," Mollema explained.
"There were just so many people and so many languages being spoken."
However, there wasn't much time for sightseeing as she spent much the trip practicing with her team, who she stated knew they were there to compete as opposed to engaging in leisure activities.
Her mother, Vicki, travelled to watch the tournament and revealed how proud she was of her daughter.
"It was good, she handled herself well and conducted herself really well and was prepared for the event," she added.
Mollema, who attends Scone Grammar School, was even highlighted in an email to her coach, which spoke about her excellent behaviour on the trip.
She will now ready herself for an indoor competition in Sydney in January and, beyond that, there's little doubt a Commonwealth or Olympic Games berth could be on the cards.
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