Category Archives: tournament

European Archery Championships 2016

30 May, 2016

Nottingham. The home of R***n H**d.  I rankle a bit when I hear the name, because it’s the laziest of lazy journalistic cliches but still gets routinely trotted out whenever target archery is mentioned. When Alison Williamson –  six times an Olympian for Great Britain and an Olympic bronze medallist in 2004 – retired, the Midlands radio show they chose to announce it on played the song. You know. That one. You get the feeling they wouldn’t do that to Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Still, I suppose it did feel appropriate to have the meet here, in a town brimming with mediaeval history.  I was on multi-media duties for the last three days: writing, photographing, interviewing and social media-ing. On finals day, in Old Market Square, I had quickly portrait up winners and losers, which is why a lot of the photos are, well, that.

It was preceded by a continental qualifying tournament,  on the Thursday evening and Friday morning, with six precious Rio spots available and packed with drama and tension, cheers and tears. You can read about that here.

Special thanks to Jon Nott and team for pulling together such a remarkable event, with a truly spectacular finals venue, sold out on Sunday. Incredible job. I have no idea how you’d manage something this size. Just brilliant.

And it was a great weekend for GBR: qualifying a place for Rio, making four finals and taking two well-deserved medals, and a crowd keen on making a racket. Moving back towards the top tier.  In the words of Martin Evans, “I think the lion’s claws are starting to grow back”.


GBR. Pic by Malcolm Rees.

So who won? Full results are here. You can read the news reports I had a hand in, too:

Recurve – individual & mixed team

Recurve – teams

GBR – recurve teams

GBR – Huston

Compound – teams

Compound – individual

As for photos: as well as Dean’s pics from the weekend you can look through the albums of Derek Sizeland, Dean Layton-James, and Bimble, too.  Thanks to everybody, and great to put a few faces to names, too. What a great weekend.

Olympic Continental Qualifying Tournament

Marin practice field

Alicia Marin

FRA practice range

FRA on the practice range

Larry v Mete

Larry v Mete

Larry midstride

Larry midstride

huston w. cameras

ready for my close-up


Mete fistbump

Mete fistbump

Mete wide shot

Mete Gazoz


huston & notty

winning the Rio place

AZER being carried

winning the Rio place – Azerbaijan

TUR tears

winning the Rio place – Turkey


finals field rehearsal

dress rehearsal

GBR compound

GBR ladies compound

GBR & NED compound ladies

GBR & NED compound ladies

Turkey compound ladies

FRA compound men

FRA compound men

DEN compound men

DEN compound men

Prieels after win

Sarah Prieels

Vinogradova w. bow

Mariaa Vinogradova


Stephan Hansen


Robin Hood silhouette

this guy

UKR warmup 3

UKR warmup

RUS warmup

RUS warmup

Daniel warmup

Lucas Daniel warmup

GBR men

GBR recurve men

GBR & GER ladies

GBR & GER recurve ladies

UKR ladies

UKR recurve ladies

GBR mens waiting 2

the wait

GBR recurve ladies wide from rear

full house for GBR

Patrick thumbs

Patrick – thumbs

Moldova win



Veronika Marchenko


Lisa Unruh

Valladont win w. poster

Jean-Charles Valladont


170 years ago…

14 July, 2014


1823arch (1)

Picture via

Just been reading the Rules & Regulations of Thirsk Bowmen*, an archery club in Yorkshire, England, published in 1845. Thirsk Bowmen exists today, but the current club apparently has no direct connection with the 19th century club. The committee structure, voting in, and roles and responsibilities are entirely familiar to any member of a sports or social club today. But there were some interesting sections:

1) The official ‘season’ was outdoor only and ran from the first Tuesday in May to the last Tuesday in September. Only gentlemen were allowed, and the cost per year was ten shillings and sixpence – approximate cost relative to wages in 2014: around £400. No word about indoor shooting.

2) Shooting was permitted on Tuesdays and Fridays starting at 5 o’clock. All arrows had to be marked with their owners initials or they did not score – a rule that persists in the UK and worldwide.

3) Every Tuesday archers shot nine dozen arrows – four dozen at 100 yards, three dozen at 80 yards, and two dozen at 60 yards. (A similar imperial round called a St. George, which has three dozen at each distance, is still shot in the UK). Maximum score using five zone scoring would be 972. Archers shot three arrow ends. Given that sunset in May in Yorkshire is around 8pm, they would have to get moving pretty quickly to get the round in before dusk.

4) The highest score each week would be made ‘captain of the target’, and get to hold a silver medal for the week. To encourage all archers, a handicap system existed – if you had won once in a season, you got four points removed from your score for the next and all subsequent weeks – twice in a season, eight points removed; three times, sixteen points and so on.

5) These Tuesday shoots were compulsory – unless you could prove you were at least ten miles outside of Thirsk, you were fined sixpence (relatively, about £20) for every shoot you missed! Swearing incurred a similar penalty. Turning up without all your equipment incurred a stiffer fine of a shilling (about £40).

6) Every year in September there was a ‘Grand Annual Meeting’. The highest score of the day would receive a silver bugle and the title ‘Captain Of The Year’, the best gold (nearest the centre) would receive a silver arrow and the title ‘Lieutenant Of The Year’ – and the last place finisher would receive a ‘Wooden Spoon’ and the title ‘Master Of The Green’. Yes, that’s right – archery puns haven’t improved much in the past 170 years.

7) Gambling on results was clearly a problem – the rules go into some detail about not letting betting corrupt the ‘manly amusement’, and a rule existed that any wagers discovered would have to be forfeited to club funds – although sweepstakes of up to five shillings (about £200) were allowed with prior permission of the Secretary.

*A copy of these rules sold at Bonhams in Harrogate for £192 in 2007.



ki bo bae (again)

11 July, 2014


Ki Bo Bae news! Her Gwangju City Hall pro team won the first “Olympic commemorative’ 31st Hoejanggi College archery competition” a couple of weeks ago, with the team racking up 4126 points in qualifying. Ki Bo Bae shot a 1391 FITA in qualifying, beating the tournament record. No one in Europe or America has ever shot that score, if I have checked correctly.

1391 and not in the national team anymore. Only in Korea. Still, good to see that comeback is still on…

A storm from the East: Antalya World Cup 2014

20 June, 2014


So I took up an offer from World Archery to come and work on their communications team for the Antalya leg of the World Cup circuit. I wrote up stories: writing, helping to write, assisting or otherwise having a hand in most of the news stories you can see on the front page of during the events. I grabbed quotes, facts, and the odd picture. I wrote some of the features and previews. I got to work with an amazing and amazingly professional team – Chris Wells, head of communications; Didier Mieville, head of marketing; Matteo Pisani, head of making everything actually work, and Dean Alberga, capo di tutti capi of archery photography, amongst many others. I had a incredible time, although it was pretty full-on. Immersive archery media.

It’s not my first World Cup – I went to Wroclaw last year for a couple of days, which you can read about here and here – but it was my first trip on the inside. This isn’t going to be a full narrative account, and I can’t spill all the beans. This will be more like a handful of memories. (There are plenty more of Dean’s spectacular pics on the smugmug page, too)


Choi BominChoi Bomin during official practice. 

In 1990, after losing a penalty shootout at the (football) World Cup, Gary Lineker said “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”  In international archery events, it sometimes seems like you need a similar quote: “500 people fling arrows at targets for five days, and at the end, the Koreans always win.” Except they didn’t. But things changed.

Antalya nestles snugly at one end of the Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean, protected by the Toros mountains. A port town for over 2000 years, it has expanded wildly since the 1970s to be one of the largest tourist destinations in Europe. Three hundred sunny days a year, apparently, and we are going to get five of them. After an amazing preamble trip to Istanbul with Ms. Infinite Curve, I am treated not just a sea view, but a mountain view too at the smart Rixos Downtown, sat midway between the qualifications field and the beach where the finals are held. Things are looking good. I have a uniform to wear and have been provided with a variety of World Archery blue shirts, khaki shorts and trainers, courtesy of Fila, one of the main sponsors.


Reo Wilde: officially inspected. 

By the time I get over to the practice session, the sun is starting to drop. On the qualifications field, we have an air-conditioned Portakabin where we can generate data, stories and dreams and distribute them to the outside world, via a satellite internet connection and wi-fi that will end up creaking under the strain of hundreds of tablets and phones all over the field hitting refresh twenty times a minute. Matteo and others have developed an incredible system for generating real-time data for archery tournaments, and the demand for it is insatiable. Data, scores, news and pictures. We must provide.



When Korea warm-up, so do their coaches.

The main archery field, owned and managed by the Turkish Archery Federation, is squashed between two giant building sites and a housing estate on prime land near the beach – I get the feeling it won’t be around in a few years, in a city that is seeing rapacious development. Today is qualification day, also known as the ranking round. We are on the field early, and get to watch the recurve teams warm up. Running on the spot, flailing arms, you name it. Although everyone is watching Korea, anyway.

Everyone is always watching Korea. When the KAA decide not to send a recurve team to a World Cup event, the competition feels incomplete. The biomechanical approach to recurve shooting has long been exported along with dozens of elite coaches to all parts of the globe – but now the cultural and style elements, like the distinctive sunhats and the team warm ups, are starting to spread up and down the line, too. Everybody wants to grab a little piece of the magic. The Danish ladies team, with current Korean resident Maja Jager, have developed their own warm-up – a touchier, feelier version of the Korean routine:


At the end of the recurve session, I get quotes from man-of-the-moment Florian Kahllund, the young German archer, and for the first time encounter the perennial problem of sports interviewers: trying to eke something interesting out of someone who isn’t keen on saying very much. He has indeed said everything that needs to be said on qualification day by placing fifth out of 127 men, ahead of the reigning Olympic gold medallist and the reigning world champion. “I know I can shoot these scores in practice, but I’ve become stronger mentally over the past few months.” Can you tell us how, Florian? “Not really.” OK.

I speak to Dasomi Jung of Korea. Of the four women in their recurve squad, she has finished seventh, with her teammates taking places one, two and three. The Korean translator, the immensely helpful Mr. Choi, calls her over, and she gives me an unmistakeable oh-alright-for-fuck’s-sake look as she answers my questions with a bored tone – but she does gives some interesting information about why the Koreans went to Medellin, and why they went there a week early:

“It was the first time we had competed in South America. There is a huge time difference between Medellin and Korea and we needed some days to adjust to the jet lag. Since the Olympics will be held in South America in 2016 it was a good opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the environment. We’ve competed many, many times in Antalya already – so we don’t worry too much about (getting here early for) the competition here.”  Familiarising yourselves for the Olympics two years early? Really?  “Yes.”

The mixed team eliminations follow. I grab quotes from Peter Elzinga and Erika Jones, both of whom are well-familiar with the media, and the awesomely cocksure Jayanta Talukdar who has clipped the Korean pair to make the gold medal match. I’m starting to notice who would be a good interviewee and who wouldn’t. It’s going to make life a lot easier.




Lee Seungyun.

Individual eliminations day. The archers are ferried from the hotels to the field in a fleet of coaches and minibuses. It’s actually only a couple of hundred yards from the hotel, but getting there on foot requires crossing Antalya’s main motorway with eight lanes of screaming traffic. I try this once, a terrifying real-life game of Frogger, and swear never again. The bus schedule is rather elastic and the Korean team have hired their own minibus for the week. This morning me and Chris manage to get a lift in it as it is ferrying Lee Seungyun, the 19 year old world champion. Yeaaaah, we special now. The badges on his chestguard apparently say ‘Lee Seungyun’, ‘No matter what’ and ‘Win it’. (thank you Vanessa Lee).


Yasemin Ecem Anagoz, in her quarter-final match. 

The individual eliminations, as archers go head to head according to their seeding in the ranking round, are brutal. You can smell the fear. The wind has picked up and the djinns are blowing around, ready to destroy months and lifetimes of work.  Everyone ducks deep inside themselves, trying to banish the lurking doubts and allow their unconscious to do the work. Everyone here has done what needs to be done – put arrows into the ten ring at 70 or 50 metres – thousands of times, sometimes hundreds of thousands of times. But can they do it on cue, in competition, with the capricious Mediterranean winds and the fears gurgling in the stomach? Can you do it now? Right now? Many big names take early baths, and I have to tread delicately amongst the stars.

“It was the wind.” I hear this a dozen times today, as I gently try to interview the fallen. Unlike most other precision sports, outdoor archery has a random variable, a roll of the dice. The wind is both a meddling god and a useful boogyman. Today, I actually believe everyone who says “it was the wind”, but later I wonder how many matches were really lost in the lift, in a hotel room, in baggage claim, in the moments of doubt that can strike anywhere.


Aida Roman is knocked out by Tatiana Segina in a shoot-off, where she held and held and held in a manner reminiscent of *that* shoot-off in London.  Can I ask you a couple of questions, Aida?  She barely whispers: “Yes.” The steel confidence displayed indoors at Telford and Nimes earlier this year was a million miles away. She is polite enough to give me “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose” platitudes, looking like a ghost. I feel awful.  Much was expected of the Mexican ladies’ team outdoors this year, but so far they haven’t shone as brightly as expected. It’s the gulf between expectation and reality that really stings.


Best interview of the day went to Oh Jin-Hyek. I’m excited. The Olympic champion. The World Cup Final champion. The ‘Soft Drink Pig‘. The unconventional shooting genius has had a bad day at the office, beaten by Takaharu Furukawa in a rematch of the men’s individual final from London 2012. He stalks off the line, rattled, barking at somebody. A short while later I find Mr. Choi, and ask to speak to ‘Mr. Oh’. He looks at me slightly alarmed and says: “Are you sure?” Excellent. This is going to be a doozy.

We head for the Korean camp: as the sun is setting, he lumbers over looking like he wants to do pretty much anything else than answer my questions. I open with a fairly standard: Can you tell me how the last match went?  Mr. Choi translates. And Oh starts talking… and talking… and talking, avoiding my eyes. Mr Choi keeps trying to stop him, but on and on he goes, and I suddenly realise he is really talking to Mr. Choi. He is justifying things to him, not me. He rattles on for at least ninety seconds, and finally stares off into the distance, grumpy.

Mr. Choi pauses briefly, and says. “He was mostly happy.”

I try not to crease up laughing, and eventually manage to tease something out about rather un-Korean ‘equipment problems’ (to cut a long subsequent story short, he was unhappy with his arrows). How are you going to clear your mind for the team eliminations tomorrow?  He finally looks at me, and I see a flash of the pugnacious ego inside. “It will not be a problem. It was just the equipment.”  I can deliver the goods anytime, sunshine. You can read what we wrote about it here.


In the compound eliminations, Choi Yong Hee of Korea makes it to the gold medal match – a first for the country, and a warning shot across the bows. In Dean’s picture (above), he lifts his bow to the setting sun like some kind of bizarre, Wicker Man-type ritual is about to happen. The destroyer.


Team eliminations day. Compounds and recurves on the same field at the same time. Previously the field was separated by bowtype, now they are separated by sex. The men go first, and I flip between watching the two USA teams.


The recurves didn’t have a great ranking round, and their seeding meant they faced the tough Dutch squad in the first round. They lose 6-0, with Brady Ellison slamming his bow down at one point in frustration. Both USA compound teams, by contrast, breeze through the brackets into the gold medal matches. For most archers, the team eliminations is their last throw of the dice – after this, there is nothing to do for three days until the flight home but sunbathe and reflect on what might have been. There’s a kind of poignancy as people pack up their bows. A lot of wistful stares.


A word about coaches. They come in all shapes and sizes, all manners, all styles – the generals in the field, the technical managers, the in loco parentis. But in competitions like this there’s always a strange point where they are left behind, when the horn sounds and all the archers walk off to collect their arrows and score, and the coaches are left standing around an empty half of the field. The powerful suddenly become powerless, neutered, functionless. A bit lonely. Until the athletes come back and they suddenly spring to life. The eternal cycle.

(Except the Korean coaches. They sit down and get back up again).



It’s noticeable how many of the coaches in the top teams are deeply protective of their charges, and how hands-on many of them are. I suspect ‘hands-on’ is exactly what is required, thousands of miles from home and loved ones.



Today I got to meet the Japanese recurve team, who have managed to make four medal matches, and are the most successful recurve nation behind Korea. They are friendly and helpful, and I type up a feature piece about them as the field empties (there is another piece on the Easton website). In Japan there is a high school archery program, separate from the elite level coaching, which funnels talent into the system. Some high schools are publicly known for the quality of their archery coaching, and Hiroshi Yamamoto, an Olympic medallist in 1984, remains a household name, which has helped keep Olympic archery higher in the public consciousness than in other countries.

After the close of play here, the focus moves to the finals arena on Antalya beach. We all troop down to help set up and set the stage for tomorrow. I go to bed at 10pm completely shattered. We are all putting in 12 hour days or more, although it never really stops. You are constantly in the bubble. You are along for the ride.





Compound finals day. The individuals preview piece is here, and the results pieces are here, here, here and here. The World Archery team suddenly doubles in size with TV crews, commentators, technicians and athlete herders along with everyone else. The finals are on a tight clock, two sessions a day. Me and Chris are doing the same things, only faster. I am the new guy, everyone else has been here before. There is a deep sense of professionalism.

The women’s compound final features some unfamiliar names. The Russian Natalia Avdeeda has been on the women’s circuit since 2009. She was up against a sixteen year-old girl from Iraq called Fatimah Almashhadani. That’s her in the above picture with the head of the Iraqi Archery Federation – who also happens to be her father.

Fatimah has been shooting compound for barely two years, but she left a trail of devastation on the Friday as she dispatched multiple World Cup champion Jamie Van Natta, 15-arrow world record holder Sara Lopez and reigning World Cup Final champion Alejandra Usquiano in individual qualification. It’s a bit like the trail Boris Becker blazed through Wimbledon in 1985, except it wasn’t a wunderkind prodigy from a rich nation with a strong sporting history, it was a shy girl in a headscarf from a country presently tearing itself apart.



Her shooting is a joy to watch, incredibly relaxed. Unlike a lot of grizzled pros, you can tell just how much she still really, really enjoys the physical act of shooting an arrow. With strong support from the local Turks in the audience and a vocal home contingent, Fatimah leads the match up until the very last end when the scores were tied, but unfortunately she sent down an eight and two nines, and the experienced Avdeeva took the match. (You can watch it here.) She looks horribly downcast at the loss, but from the reaction of the Iraq team, you would imagine she had won the gold. As for me, I find myself willing her to win for the whole match, because that would make a better story. Four days of this and I seem to have crossed some sort of journalistic threshold.

She speaks some English, and her father translates the rest: “I wasn’t nervous at all last night, but when I got to the final competition my heart started going faster. It was difficult to control my body. I was having to aim off and I found it hard. I was shooting fast, but I like shooting fast, because I am more focused. I had a dream last night, I got to the competition and we were shooting with the USA.”

Her sister Rand is in the national recurve team, and got a wildcard to London 2012 where she shot against Ki Bo Bae. “I was in the Iraqi recurve team, but decided to take up compound as a new challenge. I love shooting compound. My first coach was my mother. She taught me recurve. My current coach is Majid Ahmadi who was on the Iranian national team.” Mr. Ahmadi, a former World Cup gold medallist, shakes my hand about fifteen times today. He’s great.

“I have to thank coach Ahmadi for everything, really. He has been selfless for me and the national team. Iraq is a dangerous country, and he has fought for Iraqi archery like a citizen.”

I look down at her arrows. Two of them in the quiver have the nocks broken off… just like mine.  It turns out that most Olympic sports programmes in Iraq are still in disarray – or worse. Her father says: “(In 2006) the president of the Iraqi Olympic Association, the secretary general, president of the handball association, volleyball federation and many members of the IOA, were herded and gunned down together.”  The training conditions are challenging, too:  “There are very few archers in Iraq – perhaps only 150. We don’t have any outdoor fields for archery at all. We have to find quiet areas, there is just one area in the north of the country where we can do an outdoor training camp. No shade, no grass. I sometimes practise in the back garden in Baghdad but that is only ten meters.”

She goes off to more photos and more acclaim from the ‘home nations’. But the expression on her face looks pained. She looks like she wants nothing more than to get back out there and have another go. There’s a shy 16 year old there, with the will of a total badass. She’s my new hero.

In the men’s individual competition, Choi Yong Hee of Korea takes an individual gold. He shoots confidently, swaggeringly. It’s effortless. The win is also a loud warning shot fired around the archery world, and the warning is this: Korea intend to dominate compound archery exactly as they dominate recurve archery. The famous strength in depth of the KAA machine, with a huge base of second-tier recurve archers who already have a strong mental game and who could be persuaded to switch to compound, seems set to take over. The great white sharks are coming. They’re already here.


Podium pic (by Chris Wells)

Both USA compound teams finish with silver medals, in what has long been the their strongest event and an expected gold. Two of the men’s team manage to muster a smile on the podium, but by their own high standards, this shoot has basically been a disaster for the USA.

The working day finishes a little earlier, although with finishing our write-ups it lasts a bit longer. When you are having a conversation with a Belgian, a Nederlander, an Italian and another Brit about the minutiae of archery technical scoring in a gaudy hotel bar with ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ tinkling in the background, time flows in mysterious ways.


I get up at 6.30 and go for a swim in the Rixos’s completely empty pool. The hotel has been sparklingly good for five days. The world outside the bubble seems hazy, unreal. It’s been good to focus on this one thing and almost nothing else – has made me realised how distracted, how scatty I can get with the usual day to day nonsense. I haven’t shot for a few weeks, but it feels like I have. Like my brain is in gear. It’s my last day here.


(The great white sharks. Photo: Dean Alberga)

It’s almost all Asian nations contesting the recurve finals today, with only Florian Kahllund of Germany representing Europe, and not a soul from the Americas. The women’s team events are a straight re-run of London 2012, featuring many of the same names, with Japan facing Russia for the bronze and Korea versus China for the gold – although the Olympic results end up being reversed. I try and get some quotes out of the Chinese team afterwards; their translator is unhelpful and the women look at me like I’m from Mars. We finish the piece and move on to the men’s team, where the Korean men do what they do so well: winning, and easily. There is a slight grit to the performance after the women’s team only took silver. They are making sure.

In contrast to the Chinese, the Koreans are gradually opening up to the media. For years, you could get little more out of them except “I shot well, it was good, I was proud to shoot for my country.”  (In fact, Chris instructs me to strike the phrase “I was happy” from all quotes generated from winners. “Everyone is always happy!’)  So it is surprising to hear Oh Jin-Hyek talking about ‘weaknesses’ in the team – even if the ‘weaknesses’ he is talking about may not be the same weaknesses everyone else talks about.

With my new blue uniform I am actually getting the tiniest of respectful nods from the Koreans. The smallest of head nods, not quite a bow, but some kind of acknowledgement – and better than the glares I was getting last year. But I notice how the Korean coaches treat Juan-Carlos Helgado, the senior events director – he gets a nod approximately two inches deeper. They know my place in this lineup.

Having spent a few days watching the Koreans, I am increasingly convinced that they are deliberately maintaining a brand, and playing up to the image they have created of slick professionalism and machine-like dominance, because this serves a purpose: sowing fear amongst other squads, and maintaining the air of unbeatability.


Korea – supporting

But they aren’t a machine. They are beatable. They cheer, cry, lark about, chat and decorate themselves, everywhere but the shooting line. They laugh – a lot. They love the attention. But the great white sharks make sure to maintain their reputation, even if they don’t always catch every fish.  I’m sorry to leave the bubble, and the glorious sunlight, and all that staggering talent. It’s been like nothing else on earth.


All photographs are by me unless otherwise specified, and are © 2014 The Infinite Curve. 

There were many people I’d like to thank for this opportunity and making me feel so welcome, but especially:

Chris Wells

Dean Alberga

Matteo Pisani

Rahele Ahadpour

Didier Mieville

Chris Marsh

Tom Dielen 

Jon Nott

and George Tekmitchov. 

Interview: George Harding

12 May, 2014


George Harding, 26, is shooting recurve for Great Britain in the upcoming World Cup in Medellín starting on Wednesday. He took some time out from preparation to answer my questions.


Is this your first senior international?

This is my first outdoor World Cup. I did a small international with the British team in Mexico in November. I have competed in a couple of international indoor competitions such as Face2Face, Vegas, Nimes and Telford.

How are you feeling now, three days out from the start?
I only found out I was going a couple of weeks ago, so I haven’t had much of a chance to think about it in between making sure everything is ready. I’m excited to be going to my first World Cup and massively grateful to Archery GB for giving me this opportunity.

What are your goals for Medellín?
My main goal is to stick to my shot process and enjoy being in this environment for the first time.

What did your typical practice day for this tournament look like?
A typical practice day would be:
Warm up
Close blank boss – 20-30 arrows
70m- 3 ends practice followed by a scored 720 (6 arrow ends)with 10 minute break halfway
Distance or close blank boss 20-30 arrows
Gym- Stability or Core program
Warm up
Close blank boss – 20-30 arrows
70m- 3 ends practice followed by a scored 720 (6 arrow ends) with 10 minute break halfway
Distance or close blank boss 20-30 arrows
Gym- Strength or shoulder prehab program
Somedays I will change the afternoon session a bit, either shooting 9 or 12 arrows ends for more volume, or adding in some matchplay practice.

What riser & limbs are you currently shooting and why?
I am currently shooting a Smartriser XM1 with Win&Win Ex-Prime limbs. I’ve spent a lot of time since the end of January testing bows and this is the one which performs the best on the range.
When I first heard about it in 2012 I was curious but sceptical. Having the opportunity to test one this spring was great. On opening the box I could see that this was a piece of equipment which had a lot of thought gone into its design and manufacture. The click adjustment system used for the tiller/ poundage is a great example of this.
The innovative use of structural carbon plates mounted an aluminium chassis along with internal hydraulic damping means that while the riser only weighs just over 960g, it still feels solid. The reduced mass of the riser means that I can use a lot more weight on the stabilisers, which of course adds to it’s stability.
I am still waiting on some results from more quantitive testing but the scores in practice are doing a good job of justifying my choice.

Do you believe in luck?
Yes, it’s just probability in action.

How do you maintain confidence?
I’m really fortunate to have a lot of support from the staff at the Archery GB Performance unit. I work closely with the psychologist who helps me to stay focussed on the things I am in control of as well as positive facts about my performances in practice and competition. Breaking down things which are worrying me into achievable chunks makes tackling daunting situations manageable.
Being able to work with Songi and Lloyd who have both worked with Olympic medalists is a big confidence boost. Between them they have a massive amount of knowledge which I have a lot of faith in.
Simple things like taking photos of good ends and recording scores could help every archer looking to improve.

What’s your favourite sport apart from archery?
I have a taste for extreme sports, anything on the Redbull TV channel and I’m interested.

Do you have any ideas as to how to raise archery’s profile?
Archery has a growing profile as it is. Nottingham City Council’s support of the National Series and European Champs in 2016 is a good example of this, as well as plans for the University of Nottingham to build a purpose built indoor archery range.
I think one way to progress archery is to introduce staged levels of competition. Archery is one of the few sports where a beginner can compete alongside an elite archer, events like the indoor World cups take this to the extreme. Having secondary competitions at these events adds an extra dimension which allows more people to be really involved in competing. Similarly expanding the National Series Finals to include the top eight qualifiers makes reaching the final an achievable goal for a lot more people, which will help raise the sports profile.
I really like how the regional university leagues give teams a chance to compete regularly, in a similar way to World Cups and, closer to home, the National Series. These series create an environment for producing narratives which can be used to sell archery. Opening these events up to spectators who might not have considered watching archery by hosting finals matches in iconic public locations is a great way of presenting archery to the world.

You made an excellent video on YouTube about nocking points. Any more how-to videos in the works?
I’ve been meaning to do another video on an updated version of the nocking point I am now using. I would like to do more I’m just not sure what to do it on. Any suggestions welcome!

OK, some slightly less serious questions….
There’s a rapidly expanding trend towards selfies on social media in international archery. I presume you are not intending to buck this trend this week?
We’ll see. When I find myself in situations which would probably make a good photo I often don’t think to get my phone out, I know other members of the team are likely to be taking photos so I retweet those and enjoy the moment.

What were the last three tracks you listened to?
Lupe Fiasco – Kick, Push
The Libertines – Ha Ha Wall
Jack White – Freedom at 21

What have you got in your pockets?

Not a lot. Keys, phone and wallet.

I’m going to give you a list of things –  for each one, pick an example of that thing that represents you:

…a computer game

…a mode of transport 
Jet pack

…a TV box set for binge-watching
My Name is Earl

…a football team in the upcoming World Cup

…ice-cream flavour
Choc Chip

…Beyoncé song

Finally, tell us a joke. 
What did Jay-Z call his girlfriend before getting married? Feyoncé.
Cheers George. Good luck in Medellín!


Olympic Archery in 1908

6 May, 2014

It’s British Pathé Tuesday, and I’ve dug up a brief clip from the London Olympics of 1908. Naples was originally scheduled to host the event before a devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius sunk that plan. London rose to the challenge, and organised a games in two years flat, building a single new stadium that held almost every event – there was a pool in the middle for the swimming events and raised platforms for the boxing, wrestling etc. Compare and contrast with what is happening in Rio.

There is just a brief clip of the women’s event here, although the whole thing is worth watching:

At the 1908 Summer Olympics, three archery events were contested. Great Britain sent 41 archers, France sent 15 men, and the United States sent one man. There were three archery events – the continental style, dominated by France, the men’s double York round, won by Britain’s William Dod, and the women’s double National round, won by Britain’s Queenie Newall – with William Dod’s sister Lottie Dod taking silver. Britain were always going to win the women’s event – all 26 entrants were British. 


Queenie Newall.


On the first day of the archery competition the weather in White City Stadium was so poor that the event was stopped at one point. On the close of the first day Queenie was behind Dod by ten points. The second day’s weather was much improved and Queenie overtook Dod, eventually winning with a score of 688 points, 46 points ahead of Dod who finished in the silver medal position. The victory made Queenie the oldest woman to win an Olympic medal, at the age of 53 years and 275 days, a record which still stands.

Queenie’s main rival, Alice Legh declined to compete at the London Olympics in order to prepare for her defence of the national title a week later.  She successfully defended the title against Newall, the Olympic gold medal winner, by a large margin. 

After the 1908 Olympics, no female British archer won an Olympic medal until Alison Williamson won the bronze in the women’s individual competition at the 2004 Athens Olympics.



29 April, 2014

Well that was fun, although getting up at 7am on a Sunday morning to watch it wasn’t. In the wrong timezone, here…

Full results here:

I see the Indian media haven’t changed their aggressive stance on overseas sporting success, which I wrote about previously.

Must repost something from the new trend of ‘podium selfies‘, the immensely talented mixed team recurve sixsome of Juan René SerranoAída Román, Mackenzie Brown, Brady Ellison, Naomi Folkard and Larry Godfrey.  Looking forward to Medellin!


in pursuit of perfection

12 February, 2014

Crystal Gauvin at the 2014 European Archery Festival. © 2014 The Infinite Curve

Reblog of a great couple of posts by Crystal Gauvin about her experiences at the Vegas Shoot, where she finished second in the ‘freestyle unlimited’ division (compound) as well as the Indoor World Cup final. Compound indoors, especially at Vegas, becomes all about achieving the maximum score in each round – the magical 300 mark usually referred to as ‘shooting clean’ – and she gives great insight into the difficulties of trying to achieve that least human of qualities: perfection.

Read both posts here:

Vegas Baby!

World Cup Finals