Amid the quiet year for Para archery, these four moments made noise, especially ahead of the 2019 World Championships next June in s’-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands:
Silence and awe
The biggest shock of in the Para archery world happened during October’s Asian Para Games, where Iran’s Paralympic and world champion Zahra Nemati was stunned.
The biggest rivalry was between two-time Paralympic champion Nemati and China’s Wu Chunyan, a 2015 world championship, who was unbeaten in international competition until losing to Nemati at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. But Wu finally got the better of Nemati, taking the final, 6-4, to claim gold in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Indonesia 2018 was also the site of archery history when Bhutan entered their first Para archer into an international multi-sport event. Rigsel Pema finished 17th in the men’s recurve open.
Noise in the USA
Kevin Mather picked up Para archery about two months before the 2017 World Championships in Beijing, China. Although he lost in the first round of eliminations in the men’s recurve open, Mather was just warming up.
In October, he scored 1290 out of a possible 1440 points with distance scores of 307, 325, 321 and 345 points to set five new Para archery world records in the recurve men’s open at a home tournament in Bothell, Washington.
Mather broke the 90- and 70-metre 36-arrow Para world records in his first attempt in July.
The Para Pan American Championship in August saw Brazil’s Jane Karla Gogel continue her excellent season. She captured the women’s compound open title, a few months after winning the compound women’s open at the first leg of the 2018 Para Archery European Circuit in Olbia, Italy – a Para world ranking event. The victory raised her to the top spot in the ranking list for the first time in her career.
Celebrating the Paralympic Movement
On the 70th anniversary of the Stoke Mandeville 1948 Games (29 July), spinal injury patients recreated the very first Paralympic event – archery – in the original stadium in Great Britain.
Stoke Mandeville was the precursor of the Paralympic Games. Sir Ludwig Guttmann founded the British National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1944 and organised the first Games with an archery competition.