Our nine-strong team of archers have returned from the World Indoor Championships in Las Vegas, US with two medals in what is a huge boost for the country’s development programme, writes Mark Etheridge.
The medals came in the junior team category and in the individual category.
Competing in the compound category, the junior team of Reinhard Louw, Patrick O’Neill and James Scoones took the bronze medal while Louw took silver in the individual competition. The junior team were coached by Gabriel Badenhorst who ended fourth in the World Championships in Italy last year. Badenhorst also competed in the individual and men’s senior team competition in Las Vegas.
Only four classes (men and women’s individual) and team medals were at stake in the junior event.
The junior men took on Mexico in the elimination round after moving through the 1/16 eliminations. After the first end it was all square with 57 points each and after the second end, midway through the 24-arrow match, our youngsters held a one-point lead which they maintained after 18 arrows.
But the inexperience of the side then told after 24 arrows and Mexico went on to go through 225-228 and meaning South Africa won bronze.
In the individual matches it was Reinhard Louw who came up against American opponent Bridger Deaton in the final. Louw was ranked fifth going into the final and Deaton was ranked second. It was a tie after the first set and after the second Deaton led 3-1. Despite a perfect score of 10-10-10 by Louw in the third set it wasn’t enough to get him gold.
Due to the nature of the set system, the first archer to score six points wins. By loosing the second set, Reinhard needed to win the third set outright, and not just tie. Still, his perfect score of 60 earned him the silver.
According to Selwyn Moskovitz, President of the SA Archery Association (SANAA), it was the first time that South Africa had participated in a World Archery indoor event. ┬á”It is part of our four-year development plan to get young archers on the international line, and then progress them to the World Championship line. The success of the archers, once again demonstrates the impact that our development programme is having, and numerous other countries are now following our example”, he added.
Other members of the team to Las Vegas were: Jakkie Flemming, Michael Hill, Esme Botha, Melinda Steinmann and Danelle Wentzel.
Louw, who comes from Gauteng, is a member of the Magnum Archery Club. Just 18 years old, he burst on to the archery scene in 2010, breaking many records and winning a number of SA titles. The trip to Las Vegas saw him earning his second Proteas cap. His first came last year when he competed at the Youth World Championships in Poland and ended seventh.