Blind Louth archer takes bronze at British Championships

Stuart at full draw EMN-190425-184554002
Stuart at full draw EMN-190425-184554002

Blind archer Stuart Rodgers stepped up his world championship preparations with a bronze medal at the British Championships.

The Louth And District Archery Club member, from Sutton–on–Sea, will represent Great Britain at the World Para-Archery Championships in the Netherlands at the beginning of June, competing in the Vision Impaired B1 (blind) class.

Stuart receives his third-place trophy at the GB Championships EMN-190425-184604002

Stuart receives his third-place trophy at the GB Championships EMN-190425-184604002

He joined his British team-mates at the National Sports and Conference Centre at Lilleshall, in Shropshire, for The Worshipful Company of Fletchers British Blind Sport Indoor Archery Championships.

With training intensifying as the worlds get closer, each competition is welcomed, but also increasingly hard-fought.

Saturday’s competition came in two sessions, firstly five-dozen arrows shot in sets of three at a 60cm target face from 25 metres.

The afternoon session brought a further 60 arrows, in sets of three, also at a 60cm target face, but at the closer distance of 18 metres.

The British VI team and spotters EMN-190425-184544002

The British VI team and spotters EMN-190425-184544002

Stuart’s improved 25m performance wasn’t enough to beat his team-mates, finishing in a creditable third place behind Roger Rees-Evens (Neath, Wales) and

John Nicholl (Ballymena, Northern Ireland).

Sunday’s competition saw a change of pace and a different challenge for the archers.

A Worcester round was shot comprising a black and white target, with five scoring zones shot at 20 yards.

Archers shot a total of 60 arrows in sets of five per end, with two archers per lane.

For the first six ends, archer A aimed at the upper target while archer B shot at the lower one, and then alternated.

Not only did the VI archers compete against each other in their categories for a trophy (blind with blindfold, vision impaired without blindfold), but there was also a handicap competition for VI archers against sighted spotters.

The top three handicap scores of VI and spotters would decide the challenge.

This round was more of a chance for Stuart to practice his shot grouping, but his coach, spotter and mentor, Rick Smith, shot well enough to help the Sighted Spotters to victory over the VIs.

* Louth And District Archery Club is now meeting outdoors at Louth Town FC’s ground at Marshlands, Main Road, Saltfleetby.

They meet on Tuesdays from 6pm to 8pm and Saturdays from noon to 4pm.