Sara Symington, Archery GB Performance Director explains what it takes to succeed at Olympic and Paralympic level, from the 2011 opening World Cup in Croatia.
Whatever the weather, the ability to consistently and accurately shoot 72 arrows over 70 metres, whilst pulling anything between 40-50lb shouldn’t be underestimated – a rotation of even half a degree at this distance will cause the arrow to miss the target. The arrow will travel to the target at approximately 70m/sec (or 165 mph). On top of this controlling the mind under pressure is often the difference between winning and losing in the latter elimination stages, which are decided over a minimum of 18 arrows.
The target is 122cm in diameter and is divided into ten scoring rings of 12.2cm width. The middle scoring ring – which scores 10 – is approximately the size of a large grapefruit. In a typical weeks training, Olympic level archers will shoot approximately 1,200-2,000 arrows per week. Archery needs excellent strength and stability, with archers pulling the equivalent of 20-25 metric tons per week in training. The only type of bow allowed to be used at Olympic level is the recurve bow which is shot in both the individual and team events.
2011 has opened at the Anatalya Grand Prix where two superb gold’s were won in the women’s individual (Alison Williamson – Athens bronze medallist) and the men’s team event (Simon Terry – Barcelona double bronze medallist, Larry Godfrey & Alan Wills).
Hitting the spot
Next stop is the Croatia World Cup where further progression was seen in scores shot, however this didn’t quite prove enough to make it to the medal rounds despite some of the highest scores on the field in the elimination rounds. In the end we had to settle for two quarterfinal places in the men’s individual and women’s team events.
With three more legs of the 2011 World Cup series in Anatalya, Ogden (USA) and Shanghai and the World Championships in Turin, 27 July 2012 is only round the corner where we will see six GBR archers battle it out at Lords over an eight day stretch striving to hit the ‘x’ on a repeated basis.
Visit the Archery GB website to keep up date with the team. You can also follow Archery GB on twitter.