Archery at school concentrates the attention
School parent John Tweedie organised the archery contest on behalf of the National Archery in Schools Programme (NASP) held at Port Alfred High School on Saturday afternoon.
Tweedie said that there were about 18 schools involved and 80 archers from Port Alfred, Graaff Reinett and Uitenhage.
The sport of archery has two divisions, a 3D animal shoot and a bullseye target shoot, scoring 300 each and a competition total of 600.
The archers get 15 arrows at 10m and at 15m in each division, as well as five practice arrows.
There are two age divisions: primary and “junior high school” (high school) as they call it in the US.
Vice chairman of NASP Eastern Cape, Chris Oelofse, said NASP selects children who get provincial colours to join the NASP national teams, and from there they may get selected by SANAA (South African National Archery Association) to go to the Olympics.
The interschool competitions are individual competitions and not teams, although the individuals represent their schools. The winners can get a bronze, silver or gold medal in primary and high school divisions.
The scoring levels the playing fields, said Oelofse. A primary school child can beat a high school child and a girl can play against a boy.
What makes a good archer? It is purely concentration, said Oelofse. Although some children do have natural talent, they can all be trained.
Many children prefer archery to a physical contact sport and find their niche in it. The sport teaches discipline and children with attention deficit disorder can benefit from learning to concentrate on one arrow at a time.
It is a sport at Woodridge College which introduced the sport in the Eastern Cape. Usually kids join for a year to see if they like the sport. Most clubs have their own equipment. Practice is once a week for juniors and seniors and competitions are held on the weekend with different sessions for newcomers. Enquiries: Chris Oelofse 084-519-9945