Rio Paralympics archer Shaun Anderson is getting better and better each time he shoots since last year’s boat accident, in which he lost the use of his legs.
During a competition at Tuks over the weekend, he shot a score of 628 points, a new South African record in his category. In the first round, he shot 318 which is also a new record.
Another highlight was to shoot an ‘All Gold’ on two occasions during the competition. That’s when an archer manages to get all six arrows into the bull.
Taking into account that Anderson was only able to start competing in February again, his achievements are astonishing. In his first competition, his total score was 400. Then he shot 586 followed by 608.
According to the Tuks archer, a score of 628 would have placed him in the top 10 at the last World Championships. Anderson confidently predicts that the best is yet to come.
‘On Sunday I’ll be competing at the South African Championships at Marks Park. I know what I’m capable of at the moment, but am not going to say anything. I will first do it and talk about what I have achieved afterwards. The important thing will be to remain focused and to keep the costly mistakes to a minimum. Lastly, the weather has got to play along.
‘At Tuks, I shot four scores of six and two of five. Say I improve by just [one] point with each of the arrows it will be an extra six or more points on the board for me.’
Anderson ascribes his continued improvement to having become an ardent student of archery.
‘During each competition, I make a list of the mistakes I made. Afterwards, my coach Barbara Manning and I set about making sure that it won’t happen again.
‘One of the problems we have to look at is getting me out of the chair during a competition. During the last two, I remained on the line in my chair the entire time which led to me getting spasms when I shot during the second round.
‘I think it would be a good idea to get some physiotherapy between the rounds.’
Anderson has now been officially invited to compete in a major international competition in the Czech Republic in the second half of the year. Most of the top archers in his category will be competing.
‘I would love to go and test myself against them as it would give me a good indication as to what I still need to do to qualify for the 2020 Paralympic Games.
‘The challenge will be to find some funding which will enable me to go,’ said Anderson who also lost an arm in a motorcycle accident some years back.
Picture of Anderson courtesy of Reg Caldecott