Archery takes on a modern face

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Mana Archery Club is bring­ing an an­cient sport firmly into the 21st cen­tury.

iPads have re­placed pen and pa­per for scor­ing at club shoots, re­sults are shared on open source soft­ware and mem­bers com­mu­ni­cate via a pop­u­lar Face­book page.

This modern ap­proach to bows and ar­rows is tied up with a grow­ing in­ter­est in the sport among young peo­ple, club sec­re­tary Keila Bowl­ing says. The 2008 Olympics at­tracted new in­ter­est to the sport, and the club now counts 53 in its ranks, out of a to­tal 400 archers in clubs na­tion­wide.

The club is hop­ing to at­tract more mem­bers by host­ing ‘‘ have-a-go’’ days over the sum­mer and tour­ing schools look­ing for in­ter­ested young archers.

Mana got to show off its met­tle, as well as its gad­gets re­cently when it hosted 22 archers from clubs around the re­gion, as far afield as Manawatu, for a meet at Plim­mer­ton Do­main. Nine Mana archers joined the out-of-town­ers in the ‘‘Novice 600’’, named be­cause archers aim for at least 600 out of a pos­si­ble 900 points.

The meet was not a com­pe­ti­tion in the tra­di­tional sense, as archers com­pete against their own per­sonal best rather than against each other. Tar­gets ranged from 122 cen­time­tre di­am­e­ter to a tricky 40cm, and ev­ery­body shot at their own level.

‘‘That al­lows more peo­ple to say ‘ we got 600, that’s an achieve­ment’,’’ Mr Bowl­ing says.

Five Mana archers got their 600, which earns them a rib­bon, or a badge if it is their first 600. Three Mana archers who did not get a rib­bon were shoot­ing at a 40cm tar­get, which is a real phys­i­cal chal­lenge, he says.

‘‘It’s quite a bit of a stretch to move to the next tar­get.’’

Craig MacRae scored 815 with a re­curve bow on an 80cm tar­get, Mana’s top 80cm score of the day. He has been shoot­ing for 10 years and trains twice a week, not as ded­i­cated as some mem­bers, he says, who shoot daily.

The sun­shine and calm of the day were a re­minder that de­spite Mana’s tech­nol­ogy and gad­gets, shoots are all about so­cia­bil­ity and in­vig­o­rat­ing ex­er­cise out­doors.

‘‘It’s all about en­joy­ing the day,’’ Mr Bowl­ing says. ‘‘It’s about hav­ing fun.’’

Old and new: Mana Archery Club is keep­ing tar­get archery modern with gad­gets, com­puter tech­nol­ogy, and an in­jec­tion of young archers. From left, Steve Hop­kins, Michelle An­drews, Stacey Wil­liams, Craig MacRae.

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