During the week of 25th -> 29th June there was a competition at Stoke Mandeville for disabled archers. It was the British Wheelchair Archery Association (B.W.A.A) National Champs and International shoot and was in the format of 70m ranking round and Head to Heads for both compound and recurve bow styles.
Having obtained my disabled classification last indoor season this allowed me to join the B.W.A.A and enter the shoot as an independent competitor shooting alongside the international squads from Norway, Malaysia, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Finland, Turkey, South Africa, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, U.S.A, and our very own GB squad.
The week started very hot but very windy Monday was the men’s ranking rounds, on Tuesday the
ladies shot their ranking rounds by which time the wind was getting very tricky. I finished ranked 7th
above one of the U.S.A squad members in 8th and Ireland in 9TH with other B.W.A.A members below
them, so all in all I was pleased. Unfortunately the windy conditions became gradually worse by the
Head to Heads on the Thursday and Friday with some of the top ranking archers missing at 70m, me
included. So sadly I was knocked out of the Head to Heads at the first round. On a more positive note
I did bring home the Silver medal in the B.W.A.A Championships section for which the ranking round
scores were used for all B.W.A.A members from both the Independent and G.B squad members.
All in all it was a fantastic experience, shooting alongside the top Paralympic Archers from across the world, many of whom will be in London in September for the Paralympics.
I would like to draw the attention of all disabled archers to the B.W.A.A. They run the above competition annually and also in the winter months have training weekends at Stoke Mandeville. All of which are open to any disabled archer who meets the classification criteria. Once you have been formally classified (an assessment of your disability by a qualified classifier, often Pauline Betteridge of the B.W.A.A) you can join the B.W.A.A for £15 a year. This will give you access to the coaching sessions and the competition. They are a very friendly bunch with a wealth of knowledge and experience to help any disabled archer with almost any disability, from the novice archer to those wishing to climb the ranks towards the paralympic squad. Some other coaching methods are not always flexible to take into account physical limitations, they are on hand to offer advice and help to work with and around your personal disability.
If you would like any more information please contact the B.W.A.A via the web site www.british-wheelchair-archery.org.uk, so come and join in the fun.
Wellingborough Open Archery Club