Twelve pairs of eyes quietly attempt to follow the flight of an arrow as it leaves the bow in Beyers de Klerk’s hands.
De Klerk, Tuks’ silver medallist at the World Masters Championships, fires at the target 70 metres away, and suddenly a yellow paint explosion is followed by applause.
This was the first time young aspiring archers from Mamelodi got to witness shootingm using a bow and arrow and firing at a set target.
Tuks Archery has now hosted its first development clinic at the university’s shooting range where 12 Mamelodi children aged between 10-14 years from were invited. Gerda Roux from Tuks Archery said the idea was to make youngsters aware what archery is about.
A few top Tuks archers volunteered to explain about the sport to the children, including Paralympic archer, Shaun Anderson, regular SA team member Danelle Wentzel, De Klerk and Wian Roux who will be representing South Africa at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Words like patience, keep calm, concentrate were often heard as they explained the do’s and don’ts of trying to hit the target.
Once the necessary coaching ended, the children were given the chance to try hit various targets. Although at first arrows were flying all over the place, the young archers grew in confidence as their accuracy also improved.
Jackson Maboya hit a pink balloon on his first attempt and gave a broad smile after realizing what he had just achieved. ‘That was really awesome,’ said the 11-year-old boy.
Meanwhile, Boikgantsho Mokoena (14) was 100% focused on the target as his arrow struggled to find the mark, but did not give up and stayed motivated to try even harder. ‘I’m really enjoying myself. I must hit the target. I know I can,’ he said.
Mokoena hopes that if he can master the art of archery he will get to travel to places outside of Mamelodi.
His 10 year-old sister Nkara was a bit more successful and was able to hit the target once or twice.
What excites Roux is that they have identified at least two girls who might have what it takes to become good archers.
‘This project is still in its infancy. The serious work starts only now. We have to sit down and plan as to what we are going to do to help the two archers we have identified to come for training. We plan to host more scouting clinics like these. If one of these identified archers can represent South Africa at a World Championships, I think we would have succeeded in what we set out to achieve,’ said Roux.
PHOTO: Two of the Mamelodi kids being taught how to handle a bow and arrow, supplied by Reg Caldecott.