THE sound of arrows whizzing and striking targets filled the air at the Port Alfred Country Club last Saturday.
The occasion was the El Shaddai Bulls Eye Archery Competition, which drew participants from 16 Eastern Cape schools. It was an official National Archery Schools Programme (NASP) event.
The two-day event saw archers tackle 3D targets indoors at the Port Alfred High School hall last Friday night. Seventy-five young archers took part on Friday and 87 on Saturday.
Gary Baines, archery coach for Woodridge College, brought a group of seniors and one junior to the competition – most of his juniors being busy with a derby at Muir College.
“Woodridge started archery in Eastern Cape schools,” Baines told TotT. “We started about eight years ago and have been competing for six years. We try to support these events to keep it going.
“You see all sizes here, from the little fellows to the taller ones. What’s great is even kids in wheelchairs can do archery.”
He was echoed by Adrian Ford, one of three archery instructors for El Shaddai. “The great thing about archery is anyone can do it. And the bows we use do not require arm strength. Juniors use the same bows as seniors,” Ford said. “The smallest archer here is from El Shaddai. It’s quite something to see him go for it.”
Adrian and his wife, Elizabeth, and fellow instructor Julie-Anne Smith all did their instructor’s course at Woodridge. He pointed out the stringent safety requirements involved at the competition, from spectators being behind a line to how the archers set up and retrieve their arrows.
It was the second time the competition had been hosted by El Shaddai, and the first time it was held at the PA Country Club. In 2014 it was held at the school at Greenfountain Farm.
“The first year we were much smaller – about 70 archers and a one-day event. Numbers were stronger this year,” said Elizabeth. “The main schools have been Daniel Pienaar, Gonubie Archery Club (comprising five schools), Woodridge, Port Alfred High School and El Shaddai,” she said. “There was a fantastic spirit at the event. We only got compliments, no complaints. There was such a good camaraderie among the schools. It’s the only sport where there’s no mean behaviour. “We have about six to eight competitions a year and the kids get to know each other and look forward to seeing each other. There is a competition about every six weeks to two months.”
Elizabeth said they were encouraging the development of black archers. About 10 took part, most being from El Shaddai. “Without Woodridge’s leading, we wouldn’t have got into it,” Elizabeth said.
She thanked the instructors for PAHS, John Tweedie and Craig Elliott, who helped set up ranges, James Fox of the PA Country Club for accommodating the event, and PAHS for the indoor shoot.
Bulls Eye competition:
Senior Girls – 1 Schimonique Badenhorst (Hoërskool Brandwag), 2 Renata Potgieter (HTS Daniel Pienaar), 3 Summer Lawson (Woodridge) Senior Boys – 1 Duncan Booyens (HTS Daniel Pienaar), 2 Alex Horne (Woodridge), 3 Zander Grassman (HTS Daniel Pienaar)
Junior Girls – 1 Emma Connellan (Clarendon Primary), 2 Janeke Grassman (Laerskool Sonop), 3 Johané Pretorius (Laerskool Handhaaf)
Junior Boys – 1 Jared Swart (Gonubie Primary), 2 Josh Lindstrom (Gonubie Primary), 3 Heyn-Carlo Smith (Laerskool Handhaaf)
Senior Girls – 1 Sarah Atterbury (Clarendon High), 2 Caley Kent-Brown (Beaconhurst High School), 3 Sarah Ford (PAHS)
Senior Boys – 1 Cole Swart (Beaconhurst High School), 2 Barend Badenhorst (HTS Daniel Pienaar), 3 Duncan Booyens (HTS Daniel Pienaar)
Junior Girls – 1 Janeke Grassman (Laerskool Sonop), 2 Johané Pretorius (Laerskool Handhaaf), 3 Hannah Ford (El Shaddai)
Junior Boys – 1 Jared Swart (Gonubie Primary, 2 Liam Cloete (Selborne Primary), 3 Jason Rawlins (Selborne Primary)