Pic via fitarcotrento
What’s in store for you? Have a look.
Some pics from the World Indoor Archery Championships, Yankton, USA, February 2018. Enjoy.
From 11th – 14th September 2014, various venues in London played host to the Invictus Games, a multi-sport event based on the annual Warrior Games for injured servicemen. Nine sports were featured: the archery event on Thursday had recurve and compound individuals in novice and open categories, as well as a team event. Invictus is Latin for ‘unconquered’, and the games take this name after the famous poem of the same name by William Henley, which features the final lines ‘I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul.’
The archery finals were held in Here East in the Olympic Park, which was previously the media and broadcast centre for London 2012. Many of the athletes had not previously been involved in any of the contested sports, and have taken part in accelerated programs building up to this event. As Steven Gill, a recurve para-archer puts it: “Sport is a massive element of rehabilitation. If you can get that buzz, you’re doing a good thing”. How did you get involved? “I played wheelchair basketball and I was doing a school session with some kids, there was an archery have a go. I popped a few in the gold straightaway, so… Some of the most inspirational people aren’t here on stage, they’re the people who have managed to make the quarters or whatever, from absolutely nothing, after just three months.” Steven, who lost most of his legs and an eye to an IED in Belfast two decades ago, is actually right-handed, but has to shoot left-handed because of his injuries. Despite shooting for just eleven months, he manages to take bronze.
The recurve gold medal match was contested between Britons Gary Prout and David Hubber, with Hubber taking the gold. Afterwards, he exhorts a photographer to get his wheelchair wheels into a picture: “Yes, the other side says “I am the captain of my soul”.” Hubber was a corporal who got injured around 2002 playing ice hockey for the Army. Also involved in wheelchair basketball, he has been shooting for fourteen months, introduced to the sport by the Battle Back programme. “I honestly didn’t know it was this good!”. Ironically, David had learned a lot of what he knows about the sport from Gary Prout, whom he beat in the final. “To beat him was a bit humbling, really. I thought he’d wipe the floor with me, but he just didn’t have it on the day. In the final I was quite surprised how nervous I was. I deal with that by laughing at the situation. I was chuckling so hard, I had to take a breath to compose myself. ”
What does involvement in sport mean to you? “The whole point of the Invictus Games is to prove to servicemen that it can be done. I didn’t expect to make it this far. I didn’t expect to win. It’s not about the winning for me, it’s about proving to people that it can be done, because there are a lot of people out there doubting their own ability.”
Did you take anything from your Army career into the sport? “Well, archers call it shooting, the Army calls it firing, and never the two shall meet.” He was a serious rifle shooter. “I was lucky enough to turn down an opportunity to go to Bisley at one point. It’s quite a simple proposition if you think about the principles”. It turns out the British (and the U.S.) Army break down shooting into ‘four principles of marksmanship‘, many of which are directly transferable into archery. It is even recommended that the final trigger squeeze should ‘take you by surprise’, which has a direct parallel with the ‘surprise release’ recommended by many coaches.
Silver medallist Gary Prout is from Northern Ireland; he is a bombardier in the Royal Artillery. Awarded a CGC in Afghanistan, he was injured on a later tour there and further injured when training recruits in Scotland. He has been shooting on and off for over 20 years, and represented N.I. as a junior. His dream was to represent N.I. at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, but his injury put paid to that. “The Invictus Games has stepped in exactly where that was. The coaches have worked around my issues. We changed a lot of things with my technique, and I managed to get to a level where I was shooting competititvely with guys around me. I had my shoulder rebuilt in 2010, although it’s still not quite there. I don’t have quite enough mobility to finish off the shot.”
He also credits his return to the sport to Battle Back, a Help For Heroes initiative, and his experience meant he was made captain of the GBR recurve team. “You’ve got people injured from all over the place, people with psychological issues. It’s brought everyone together. It’s given us all a focus. I keep my fingers crossed and I pray that someone’s going to take this up and continue, and it’s going to be hosted by all the other nations. Everybody is overwhelmed by the reception we’ve had. Some of the guys on the archery team were suffering from PTSD, they weren’t leaving their houses, proper folded in on themselves. The first couple of times at the sessions, you could see them developing, coming out of that. We’re gonna try and keep the Invictus umbrella over the top of ourselves, keep it going, get some new talent in and develop that there. The response from the public has been absolutely brilliant.”
The archery programme has been very popular. Why do you think that is? “From a rehabilitation point of view, it’s a very inclusive sport. People in the armed forces love it; we love shooting, being accurate. There’s a lot of other things that people can get involved in, but the archery has appealed to so many. There’s a big span of ages and injuries. Injuries don’t come into it. You’ve got people shooting who don’t have arms, who are using their mouths. It reminds you how fortunate you are sometimes.”
He also uses his rifle experience in the sport. “I shoot small-bore for the army. I used to shoot operationally for the Royal Artillery. It’s all the same kind of principles. With rifle shooting it’s ‘position and hold’, ‘shot must be released and followed through’, so if you drop your forward arm, that’s it gone. ”
All the archers on the podium are hoping to go to Rio for Team GB. As Gary Prout says: If I get the mobility back in my shoulder I’ll go for it. At the moment I’ll get punished for my technique outdoors.” The final word comes from David Hubber: “I like the fact that it’s you and you alone. Even as a team, you are still an individual. You’ve got nobody to blame for failure. Whatever I’m achieving, at the other end of my shot, is all down to me. With the influence of guidance from others, but right there, it’s me. ”
Thanks to Chris Wells for getting me in and Jack Skelton for helping me out.
Does exactly what it says on the tin. (via Rose City Archery).
And there’s more. The Japanese ladies recurve team administered a thrashing to the mighty Korea in the team finals at the Asian Grand Prix, the last big tournament before the Asian Games. Japan have been producing strong results for some years now but it’s a great lesson in confidence – for both teams. Watch and enjoy:
(thanks to Dark Muppet)
More Japanese archery, this one via Ronin Dave over on his blog. Apparently: “on August 4th, a Japanese archery meet is held on the shores of Lake Chuzenji near Nikko, two hours north of Tokyo. Archers gather to shoot at folding fan targets attached to small boat masts. Ogi no Mato comes from a legendary archery incident over 800 years ago when a samurai archer shot a fan off of a boat mast in response to a challenge from his enemies.” LOVE the mega-weird mannequin.
There’s embedded English commentary. Watch and learn:
He also shares a shot of a dragonfly sitting on the tip of a bow. That’s got to be lucky, right?
Nice video from Martin archery. Always jealous of extreme wordworking chops (see http://theinfinitecurve.com/2012/12/18/arrow-building/ and many other posts below…)
This my favourite picture from the champs, of Maja Jager hugging her coach after winning the gold medal:
Can’t explain exactly why it’s my favourite, out of all the amazing images (thanks to Dean Alberga and Bogensport for amazing work as usual). The sheer expression of joy after all that work holding it in and controlling it.
It will also be remembered for some truly horrendous wind in the midweek. Read about what Brady and the American team had to say about it here. And watch the compounders dealing with it here:
But this image will be the one that people remember from 2013:
It shows the last two arrows in a shoot off to decide the gold and silver medals in women’s recurve; Maja Jager’s on the left, and Xu Jing’s on the right. It’s simpler if you just watch it. Jager’s was declared the winner, and she won the gold medal. The rules say that if the shoot-off arrows are within two millimetres of each other’s distance to the centre, a second shoot-off has to take place. Jager’s is clearly closer, but the result was called very quickly, and the arrows pulled. I’m not suggesting the result was actually wrong – I’m not a judge, and I wasn’t there – but it appears close enough to warrant a more detailed inspection. Even on WA’s homepage it mentions she “won by a millimetre“. The last thing a minority sport like archery needs is even the slightest doubtful bit of judging, frankly. Not to diminish Maja Jager’s amazing achievement. Great job.