A fantastic competition was the feedback from competitors, judges and volunteers following a landmark UK Record Status competition held at the Cheltenham Recreation Centre. Over 100 archers competed in our Inaugural Annual Inclusion Shoot which also incorporated the British Wheel Chair Archery Association National Competition.
The event is part of a major initiative that Deer Park Archers have been working on since September 2013, supported by funding from the National Lottery and Archery GB Ontarget Programme aimed at increasing participation in the sport for those with both Physical and Special Educational Needs Disabilities. The Club has been running workshops and Coaching Courses, numerous targeted community events and has established a strong Inclusion section as part of the club!
Dave Sandles, the Club’s Inclusion Officer and Tournament Organiser was pleased that the competition attracted archers with such a wide range of abilities which included visually impaired (blind) who are just so impressive to watch as well as archers such as four-time Paralympian John Cavanagh who has won both Gold & Silver medals, Chloe Ball-Hopkins who has recently joined the GB Paralympic Squad, Simon Powell part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme and Peter Price the British Blind Sport Veteran.
The event was very much an open event so there were some top able bodied archers competing as well, including 6 members of Deer Park Archers who are part of the GB Junior Compound Squad, James Howse, Conney Healey, Lucy Mason, Ben Humphries, Beckie Hutchings and James Lawton.
However it was very much a day for our visitors with Simon Powell from West Essex winning the Open Recurve Gents Class with a score of 552, Chloe Ball-Hopkins winning the W1 Ladies Compound with 555 and John Cavanagh from Royal Richmond the W1 Gents. Peter Price from St Dunstans took the Visually Impaired Title with 542 and Rhiannon Norfolk the Open Ladies Compound with 551.
In the non Para events Adam Shaw from Cleve with 572 the biggest score of the day took the Gents Compound, Jan Howells from Pentref the Ladies Compound with 563. James Howse from Deer Park won the Junior Gents Compound with 555. Josh Leonard also from Deer Park won the ‘Short Distance’ Trophy with a score of 502.
As part of Deer Park’s efforts to raise funds for a new field Kev Sutherland was attempting what we believe is a UK first with a sponsored shoot involving shooting 4 rounds on the same day, using 4 different bow types (more than 20 dozen arrows!). He amassed 1351 points and in the process won both the Combined Barebow and Combined Longbow categories, a remarkable achievement!
One of the features of the event was the quality of the judges and the atmosphere they created, so special thanks go to Richard Jones (Judge in Charge), Jean Howells and Adrian Gifkins who were a key part in the preceedings.
The trophies were presented at the end of a great day by the Mayor of Cheltenham – Councilor Wendy Flynn.
Club Development Officer Roger Crang was full of praise for the Club and the way the team of volunteers combined to make this a highly successful event. “This was certainly an opportunity to show what can been done to encourage and support the increased levels of participation of all abilities possible in our sport but there is no doubt that we do need to get more clubs involved, more specialist coaches trained and get better at show casing our sport. This will become an annual event, however without the levels of sponsorship we achieved the event would not have been viable and that is a concern!’’
‘’The cost of the event exceeded £2000 and income generated by entry fees covered less than half of that so without the generous sponsorship of ‘The Worshipful Company of Fletchers’, things would have been a lot more difficult but that is a measure of the Club’s commitment to making a difference in the community.’’
The Club now needs to turn its attention to other matters as it has still not secured an outdoor shooting venue from April of this year!
Last week Archery GB launched the ‘Chasing the Dream’ Campaign to identify archers that have the potential to fast track their development and compete at the 2016/20 Paralympic Games, it is hoped that this type of event will inspire non archers to take up the sport and perhaps we can support them to live that dream! Please contact us if you would like to have-a-go.