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Seppie bang on target

By Mark Etheridge

It’s been a month to remember for our eagle-eyed archer Septimus Celliers.

On Saturday, 10 July, he once again shattered all continental and national records when he shot a score of 1418, just a point short of the world record, at the Claudette Shiers FITA Star Tournament.

Then on Wednesday, 21 July his name was read out as part of the South African team to do battle at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India later this year.

Commonly known as Seppie, Celliers, who is based in Pretoria, achieved his 1418 target just a year after shooting his first 1400 at the same tournament in Durban.

Shooting under strict FITA International Conditions, in a tournament recognised by the International Archery Federation, Celliers’ achievement means that out of the 144 arrows he shot at distances ranging from 90-30m, only 22 arrows were not a dead-centre “10”.

Celliers is now only the second archer in the world to have shot this score. Peter Elzinga of the Netherlands holds the record of 1419. And to make it even sweeter for Celliers is the fact that in his shooting from the 50m distance he shot 358 to equal the world record at this distance.

He was also part of the victorious team who recently returned from the Archery World Cup in Turkey with the gold medal and will be hoping his fine run of form continues at the Commonwealth Games.

Selwyn Moskowitz, president of Archery South Africa, was full of praise for Celliers’ accurate shooting. “When you consider that there are six million registered archers worldwide this is superb. He already holds the world record at 30m.

“The way the competition works is that archers will shoot a total off 144 arrows — 36 at 90 metres, 36 at 70m, 36 at 50m and 36 at 30m. People would think that shooting would be easiest from 30m but that’s not always the case, because there are so many variables like wind, and sun-reflections to take into account.

“Durban has obviously been a great record venue for him, but normally it’s Gauteng that sees the really good scores.”

Moskowitz is also full of hope for our chances of medals at the Commonwealth Games. “We’ve had a lot of success around the globe this last year and hopefully it will continue in New Delhi. We rank first in both men’s and womens’ categories. Jorina Coetzee, still a teenager, won silver in Korea last year, and looking at the competition she is virtually guaranteed a medal, although I’m not sure what colour.”

The archery team to do duty in New Delhi is: Jorina Coetzee, Nico Benade, Septimus Cilliers, Jacobus de Wet. Manager/coach: Barbara Manning