By Don Urquhart, Times Chronicle
When Katniss Everdeen chose the longbow as her weapon of choice during the 74th Hunger Games and emerged an inspirational heroine, legions of young women around the world rushed to pick up the bow.
In that classic instance of life imitating art the sport of archery experienced a never before seen surge of interest in what is (still) a relatively low key sport.
This past weekend the Air Cadet hangar at the Oliver Municipal Airport became an arena of sorts – tensely competitive yes, Hunger Games-deadly, no.
The hangar was the venue for the BC Archery Team trials where eight archers from across the province vied for four slots on the BC team to compete at the Canada Winter Games in P.E.I. in March 2023.
One male and one female archer are chosen from each of the two equipment groups – recurve and compound bows. Anyone in the province can register and once they meet certain benchmarks the top four from each division across the province are invited to come and compete at the team trials.
The eight competing over the weekend represented half as many as would normally be at this event, according to Loralee Murray, president of the BC Archery Association. As with much in our lives, the pandemic hit organized sport hard.
“Because of COVID our numbers are way down because people didn’t feel confident enough shooting so this is a really small year. Typically there are 16 athletes on the line today from each division and I think we probably had 16 in total this year,” Murray said.
Pre-pandemic the association’s provincial events would host around 120 archers from across BC representing all ages.
Murray reckons the numbers are building back up again. “It fluctuates up and down so we’re in the growth phase now.” When the Hunger Games trilogy came out (2008-2010) there was a huge surge in interest, she said. “It just bloomed. It was crazy the number of females we had!”
Day one of the trials started on Saturday, Nov. 19 with each archer shooting 10 rounds of three arrows each for a possible score of 300. At the end of the day the archers were ranked for an elimination round on Sunday.
Saturday was also an introductory day and practice for the elimination because not all of the participants had met each other and not all had experience in elimination rounds.
“Most of these kids don’t shoot together because they’re from various places in BC so this is a kind of ‘getting to know you’ event as well and the team coaches can also watch them shoot as they don’t know who’s going to make the team yet,” Murray said.
Following the competition the new BC Archery Team consists of: Mason Pollard and Kayden D’Entremont (alternate) for the Compound Men; Eliana Stein and Brooklyn Novak (alternate) for the Compound Women; Jamison Hui and Liam Bennett (alternate) for the Recurve Men; Emily Yen and Andrea Cavazos (alternate) for the Recurve Women.
Ron Ostermeier, vice-president of the Southern Okanagan Sportsmen’s Association (SOSA) and past president of the BC Archery Association also highlights that the SOSA Archers club operates out of the hangar in Oliver with practices every Monday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m.
BC archers hit the bullseye during Oliver trials Source link BC archers hit the bullseye during Oliver trials