Archery as an extreme sport

School tournament shows sport taxes strength, stamina

Archery probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when considering sports that require strength and endurance. However, after witnessing the annual invitational archery tournament that took place on May 6 at York Mills Collegiate, a lot of the highschool participants and a couple of the coaches were emphasizing the fact that a shooter needs lots of stamina and strength to compete at peak performance.

Seven schools participated in this year’s event, including St. Mike’s, Riverdale, Martingrove, Victoria Park, Winfield’s, Brampton Central and York Mills. All the archers were exhibiting that strength and endurance as they battled for hours, shot for shot, from 8:45 a.m. until 2 p.m., with only a short lunch break.

During the competition, each student shot six arrows per round, for a total of 60 for the day, trying to steady a heavy bow while continuously pulling back the bowstring on the high-tech equipment being used.

“In the afternoon I get a little shaky and I tend to miss more often than in the morning,” said grade 12 York Mills student Peter Fan, who was taking part in his first invitational competition. “I’m getting a lot better with practice and I just need to focus a bit more on my hand positioning.”

York Mills proved to have some talented shooters on the squad as they found themselves taking home quite a few medals for various individual events.

In the boys’ standard event, Alex Yan’s score of 323 was good enough for silver. Justin Hui took home a bronze with his score of 317.

Meanwhile, Amanda Cheng shot her way to a 320 score and a silver medal in the girls’ olympic category.

“It’s all just for fun,” said Fan, commenting on the intensity level.

Representing Riverdale on this afternoon was grade 9 student Jack Pickin, who after only 19 months of competitive archery, is already aiming at participating in the Junior World Championships in 2006, not to mention representing Canada at the 2008 Olympics.

“I had friends at school who did archery and I also went to camp and tried it,” said Pickin. “I just have to work on consistency and keep on practising and not get lazy.”

Overall, Riverdale, which has a rich history in sports, also had a few top shooters who did well in the winner’s circle.

Manda Wong won gold with a 400 score in the girls’ olympic division, while teammate and good friend Samantha Seta finished 15 points behind for a bronze.

In the boy’s circuit, Jonathan Xu took home the silver with a 529 score, while Eric Him shot 493.

“I thought we did absolutely amazing. Everyone was feeling confident and hopefully we’ll do well next week at St. Mike’s,” said Riverdale coach Paul Hackl.

St. Mike’s College took home a gold in the boys’ olympic category, as J.D. Burns scored a whopping 556 points.

St. Mike’s roster is full of young up and coming shooters such as grade 8 student Dave Jin, who has seen lots of improvement in his performance but still seeks some consistency.

“Being more consistent in my scores is what I need to work on. My scores were a lot higher in the morning. I think stamina just comes with experience,” he said.

That stamina will be put to the test in another four days as these schools compete at St. Mikes.

“They don’t mind. Everyone really enjoys this,” Hackl said of the short rest between meets.

About this article:

By: Neil Becker
Posted: Jun 11 2005 4:00 am
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto