Blind archer claims bronze in Andorra

Stuart with his bronze medal trophy EMN-180525-093937002
Stuart with his bronze medal trophy EMN-180525-093937002

Blind archer Stuart Rodgers enjoyed another podium climb to bolster his chances of shooting for Britain at the World and European Para-Archery Championships.

A year after his first visit, Rodgers returned to the mountain region between France and Spain, accompanied by his Louth And District Archers coach and mentor Rick Smith, to compete in the second International Open of Andorra for Vision Impaired Archers.

Stuart Rodgers (right) with silver medalist Jordi Casellas Albioi and winner Janice Walth EMN-180525-093911002

Stuart Rodgers (right) with silver medalist Jordi Casellas Albioi and winner Janice Walth EMN-180525-093911002

The tournament attracted archers from across Europe as well as the United States.

Following a day of practice and set-up, shooting began in earnest on Sunday with the qualifying and seeding round; a WA 18m round of five-dozen arrows shot at a 40cm target face from 18 metres.

Janice Walth, from California, set the pace and secured the number one ranking by breaking the world VI V1 record with a score of 434 out of 600.

The afternoon session began with the semi-final match between Rodgers, from Sutton-on-Sea, and his friend Jordi Casellas Albioi, a pioneer in the sport, and president of the Andorran Sport Federation.

Rodgers once more lost out to his nemesis, pipped over five sets on the final arrow, but he went on to take the bronze medal.

Albioi put up a brave fight against the in-form American who won the gold in three straight sets.

The medal presentations were filmed by local television news and screened that night while competitors sat down to the event-closing dinner.

Rodgers is next in action at the county championships on June 10 at Boston where he will hope to pick up form for the National Disability Championships, two weeks later.

He will be accompanied at Lilleshall by fellow club members Peter Shaw (VI Open) and Tom Folwell (Wheelchair Archer).

* Folwell continued his quest to shoot well and make the National Para-Archery squad at his first-ever outdoor competition, organised by Friskney Bowmen.

Going up against an able-bodied field in a Windsor round, he scored a very creditable 927 out of 1,080.