You don’t have to see the target or be an elite Paralympian to have a go at archery, as SVI members found out last week.
SVI member and trustee, Kevin Betteridge told us more about it.
“I recently attended an Archery Have A Go Day organised by SVI and Archery GB at the Portway Lifestyle Centre, Oldbury. Whilst at college (over 40 years ago) I did have a go at archery and I was really looking forward to trying it again.
“The session started with an introduction by Helen from Archery GB followed by a talk from Steve, a visually impaired archer who had won many medals all over the world. I found his talk very motivational as it proved that having a visual impairment does not stop you achieving anything if you put your mind to it. I thoroughly enjoyed having a go at archery. I can see hardly anything of the target when I shoot however I managed to hit two golds (centre of the target) with my first two arrows.
“There is a six week course taking place later in the year and I will definitely be attending. I would just like to thank all the instructors and volunteers for making this session so enjoyable. I would recommend archery to any visually impaired person. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.”
Other people said…
Lisa (SVI member): “It was fantastic. I really loved it. It was something different, I have never done it before, and it was good fun!”
Denise (SVI member), who won the one arrow shoot off at the end, hitting the gold: “I can’t believe it! I really enjoyed it, something different. It was a challenge as well.”
Tina (SVI member): “Being included was important, with being visually impaired, and I would say to others to just have a go!”
Helen Smedley, Archery GB’s Regional Development Officer said: “Having not met the members before, I wasn’t sure how the session would go and how satisfying it would be, but it was so clear how much members were enjoying it! I was really struck by how well everyone engaged with all they heard and took on board the coaching, and scored really well!”
Tony Averis, SVI Chair said: “It’s been an excellent opportunity and I want to say thank you on behalf of SVI members for arranging this opportunity, in Start Archery Week. It has been well received by our members and we can consider it a great success.”
The two hour Start Archery Week taster event was run by licenced Archery GB coaches, and held for SVI members and volunteers, at Portway Lifestyle Centre, in Oldbury.
It included talks at the start to introduce archery in general, accessing the sport as a beginner, the role of a spotter, competing as a VI archer, and all about Start Archery Week.
Local archer Steve Prowse and his wife and spotter Lesley Prowse also attended. Along with SVI member Trish Gracesmith, they shared their experiences of what it’s like to shoot regularly as Archery GB members and competitive VI archers, including in international competitions.
Thirteen people took part in all – a mixture of members and volunteers.
There will be a second taster session on Thursday 22 June from 1pm to 3pm, to enable another group of a similar size to try archery. Then a beginners’ course in September for those wanting to learn to shoot in more detail. At least six people already want to commit to the course! Contact SVI if you would like to take part. Call us on 0121 525 4810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
VI archery will feature in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games in Birmingham this August. The archery finals are on 25 August, and there will also be a Taster event open to all athletes on Saturday 26 August at the International Blind Sport Federation World Games 2023.