MORE THAN 100 archers competed in the inaugural Annual Inclusion Shoot organised by Deer Park Archers at the Cheltenham Recreation Centre which also incorporated the British Wheelchair Archery Association national competition.
The event is part of a major initiative that Deer Park Archers near Birdlip 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 delighted that the competition attracted archers with such a wide range of abilities including visually impaired (blind) as well as archers such as four-time Paralympian John Cavanagh who has won both gold and 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.
For the record, the results were: Open Recurve Gents – Simon Powell (West Essex) 552; W1 Ladies Compound – Chloe Ball-Hopkins 555; W1 Gents Compound – John Cavanagh (Royal Richmond); Visually Impaired – Peter Price (St Dunstans); Open Ladies Compound – Rhiannon Norfolk 551.
Deer Park Archers’ club development officer, Roger Crang said: “This showed what can been done to encourage and support the increased levels of participation of all abilities possible in our sport. But we need to get more clubs involved, more specialist coaches trained and get better at showcasing 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 £2,000 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.’’
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 2016/2020 Paralympic Games.
Please contact Deer Park Archers (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to have-a-go.