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Shot in the arm for SA archery

South African archery received a healthy boost with the news that the country will host the Pre-Commonwealth Archery Games in Pretoria from March 27-30.

The event will also be used to showcase the 59th SA National Target Championships will be held concurrently with the Games at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria between 27 and 30 March.

Over 20 Commonwealth members have been invited to take part in this world-ranking event. According to the secretary of the SA National Archery Association, Barbara Manning, ‘The championships will be the most impressive tournament of its kind to be held in Africa, attracting over 120 foreign and domestic athletes, including a former Olympian and several world-ranked archers’.

‘The championships is a particularly important event on the global sporting calendar, as it goes towards the selection of the South African team to represent South Africa at the upcoming World Championships to be held in Korea. Local interest in the championships has peaked as it is a qualifier for the World Championships, creating a more than the usual excitement around this competition.’

‘At the same time, it will showcase what the country can offer to the Commonwealth members, and give them the first and only opportunity to compete against those athletes that they will face in India in 2010,’ she added.

Archers will shoot a total of 144 scoring arrows on the first day from 90 metres for the men, to 20m for the cubs, preparing them for the eliminations on the second day. 

As a world-ranking tournament, carrying FITA, the International Federation sanction, the field of competitors will be narrowed down by the 70 metre eliminations round to the top three archers in each division.

Leading the field will be local archer Nico Benade who recently became the 19th archer in the world to shoot a score of over 1400 and holder of a number of world records.  Also competing will be Olympian Calvin Hartley who faces stiff challenges from Iraq and Uganda.