I chose archery, for all the obvious reasons. You can read about it here.
I enjoyed it. I went to Lords cricket ground, which is the Olympic archery venue, for the news conference to announce the selection of the British archery squad a while ago. It was mostly sports journalists asking detailed questions about who did what in Beijing four years ago.
So I asked a lay person’s question: Did they think The Hunger Games was good for the sport or were they sick of being asked about it? The answers were yes and no respectively; they all seemed delighted that a new cohort of teenagers were being attracted to the sport.
Trying an Olympic bow was interesting (that is it in the picture). It wasn’t until I pulled the arrow back to my cheek that I realised that it could quite easily kill someone. The force with which the arrow is released is a little scary.
Anyway, many thanks to Peter Jones, media man for Archery GB, who put me in touch with Andrea Gales, a British international who showed me how to shoot. She can shoot all kinds of bow, but her chosen discipline is the compound bow, which is not the same as the Olympic competition, which is the recurve bow (it curves the wrong way at the ends – actually, when you take the string off the whole thing bends backwards). A compound bow, though, is an even more remarkable piece of kit, the most high-tech bow, with cam pulleys and a trigger to release the arrow. The cams mean that it gets easier to pull the closer you get to full stretch, which means that the archer can hold it steadier for longer. (No, I don’t understand it either.)
So thank you Andrea for introducing me to the sport, which I hope to try again soon.
PS. Apologies for the title of this post. The thing about real bows and arrows is that they don’t make a noise, except when they hit the target. But I was tired.
Photograph: Dan Burn-Forti for The Independent on SundayTagged in: archery, olympics
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