Day One of the Stoke Mandeville Archery Event is officially in the books. The day consisted of only a few hours of practice and equipment inspection. There were quite a few more archers than I’d expected. This explains why the events qualification rounds are held over two days, instead of the one day it used to be.
The USA had scheduled practice in the afternoon, along with the UK, Ireland, Spain, Hong Kong, Canada and a few other countries. The problem was that there were only 18 target bales and too many archers for so few bales. Between wheelchairs, spotting scopes and other adaptive equipment on the line, it made for a tight fit.
The USA secured 4 targets for our archers and went to work ensuring our sight marks were correct. We had no problems sighting in, and within a few ends we had our marks and were then just shooting to warm the muscles up and work on our form.
We noticed that the Canadian team was having problems finding places to shoot and started working them in on our bales, sometimes shooting 4 archers at one time on a bale. Normally you shoot only two archers, so it was really tight!
You may wonder why we let the other countries join us or work in. The answer is two-fold.
First, it is good sportsmanship. After all, this is what the Olympics and Paralympics are all about.
Second, we want our competition at their best. That way, when we come up against them, no one has a reason to complain about “not enough practice.” Let the best archer win! Of course, we expect that archer to be from the USA.
Today is the qualification rounds for the men. GO USA!
I am writing this blog from Stoke Mandeville, England. A little history here: Stoke, Mandeville was the location of the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, also known as the “World Wheelchair and Amputee Games.” These games were held for 8 years and were actually the inspiration for the Paralympic Games.
You may be wondering what I am doing here in Stoke so early before the Paralympic Games. It is quite simple. There is a competition called the Stoke Mandeville Archery Event being held over the next couple of days, and Para US Archery Team is here for some competition. Most of the team arrived today. A couple members were not so lucky with their flight and will hopefully arrive later today.
I’m approaching this shoot with an agenda: to make sure all of my equipment meets my standards and that I won’t have to make changes between now and the Paralympics.
We would usually already be on the range shooting a few arrows; however, the field has not yet been set up so we are stuck doing what we love the most—“sitting around waiting”! Can you hear the sarcasm from there?? It’s all part of competition and something I am used to dealing with, so it is not something that will throw me off my game. I have been ramping up my practice and my mental game just for situations like this.
I am ready for a great week of shooting and will keep everyone informed as I know more. GO USA ! !