Louth Archers' European quest reaches France

Louth And District Archers' Vision Impaired Archers Carol Davies and Stuart Rodgers have been continuing their preparations for European glory.

From left, Louth Archers members Carol Davies (background), Stuart Rodgers, and chairman Rick Smith EMN-160317-103303002

Late last month they competed in the third Para Archery FITA18 in Cheltenham, which also incorporated a British Wheelchair Archery Association (BWAA) National Indoor competition.

This testing 18-metre indoor event consisted of 60 arrows in sets of three at a single 40cm target face with archers having two minutes to complete each set.

Both Carol, from Skegness, and Stuart, from Sutton-on-Sea, finished out of the medals despite creditable results, but gained valuable competition experience.

A week later they joined five other British club archers in France to compete in a Visually Impaired Archery Tournament (VIAT), the first of its kind, organised by World Archery (WA) Europe.

The event brought together 26 competitors from Italy, Andorra, France and Great Britain and aimed to internationally classify as many nationally classified visually impaired archers as possible for future WA VIATs.

After both archers were officially certificated by two independent classifiers from the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), on behalf of WA, qualifying began for the 30 metre and then 18 metre events.

All of the British archers qualified for the quarter-finals at both distances when the competition became head-to-head matchplay.

Louth’s two heroes were eliminated after closely-fought quarter-finals, but of the 12 medals available, British athletes won seven.

The weekend culminated in a civic reception at Saint Herblain City Hall with the deputy mayor.

There was a blow to Stuart’s hopes when his VI 1 (Blind) WA competition category was scrapped from next month’s European Championships owing to insufficient numbers.

But the news only spurred Stuart on to continue with his program of performance training with Carol and the rest of the British VI Team.

They will next meet with the British Wheelchair Archery Association (BWAA) at Stoke Mandeville Stadium later this month.