I have been asked by to forward a blog post on my experience of competing as a visually impaired Archery at Pilsen in the Para European Championships 11th to 19th August 2018.
I am visually impaired and learnt to shoot a bow at Sheffield Blind Archery group based at the Northern General Hospital. I need to use a tactile sight and foot locators to enable me to aim at the target, along with my spotter Marina, who assists me with the equipment and telling me where the arrows are in the target.
I was very excited when I found out that I was part of the team going to the games. We travelled to Pilsen with the Para Archery team on the Saturday 11th August. We stayed in a hotel that was in the City centre and not far from the venues used for the competition. Over the next few days the team practiced at the Archery field in readiness for the Qualifiers.
These are used to determine who goes through to the semi final/finals.
Four visually impaired archers from Britain made to the semi finals, one of whom is a Deaf Blind archer from Northern Ireland.
The medal matches were held in the central square of Pilsen, next to the cathedral. It was televised on youtube which made me a little nervous initially, but I hardly had time to think about it when the time came.
My match was for the Bronze medal, against another British Archer. It came down to a one arrow shoot out, highest score wins. Unfortunately I lost, but despite my disappointment, I still enjoyed my experience at the games. I met some very interesting people from various places and can’t wait to go to my next competition.
Visual impairment does not have to be a barrier to taking up a chosen sport or pastime.