Archery for visually impaired makes progress
London – 3 September 2012
At the Paralympic Games in London a meeting took place between World Archery and representatives of Blind Archery in Great Britain.
As World Archery Secretary General Tom DIELEN noted, "there have been so few people entering the events World Archery has promoted, it has not been possible to hold a competition."
It appears the major issue for athletes who have a limited amount of vision, is they want to be able to use the little they have and not wear a blind fold.
At present the rules have just a single class for men and women regardless of whether they shoot recurve or compound. The Visually Impaired (VI) round is shot at 30m with different sized target faces used to imitate longer distances. At this 30m distance the bow types are very similar in performance as are the men and women.
David POYNER of Blind Archery has proposed a change which we all hope will encourage more athletes to compete in archery.
It is suggested there be two sport classes for VI just as there are different classes for those with a physical disability:
Ø B1 for those totally blind archers who would continue to wear a blind fold.
Ø B2 and B3, who have small amounts of vision, would use a tactile sight and not wear a blind fold.
World Archery is seeking to hold a three-day seminar/competition in June or July 2013 at which there would be an exchange of information, coaching techniques, classification and, on the final day, a competition.
If the competition is successful and a significant number of people participate, there may be the opportunity to include a VI division in the World Archery Para Championships in Bangkok in November 2013.
It is likely that the seminar/competition would take place in Great Britain, and ArcheryGB is considering what may be possible in terms of facilities and logistical support.
Tom DIELEN thanked David POYNER for his contribution which followed a BBC radio debate between the two men and, with Rita VAN DRIEL, chairwoman of the World Archery Para-Archery Committee, assured the VI community of improved support and communication.
Carole A HICKS
World Archery Para-Archery Committee