David Drahoninsky aims for perfection

Rio 2016 silver medallist looking to hit a maximum score. 20 Jul 2017
David Drahoninsky shooting an arrow

David Drahoninsky of Czech republic competes against John Walker of Great Britain at the Menâs Archery Individual W1 Final during day 9 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Sambodromo on September 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Bruna Prado/Getty Images)

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By Emily Bayci and the IPC

“I look forward to the racing atmosphere and my archery friends, even though they are also rivals.”

After 14 years as a Para archer, David Drahoninsky is targeting a new challenge in his sporting career – a perfect score.

The 35-year-old Czech wants to shoot the maximum 720 in a qualification round, something he knows requires dedication and patience.

“I will be a better archer if I train hard,” Drahoninsky said. “I’m still learning. I need to be patient and keep my desire to shoot 720.”

Drahoninsky took a month off after September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where he lost the men’s W1 final to Great Britain’s John Walker.

Although he had to settle for silver, the day still proved to be extra special when he grabbed the microphone and proposed to his then-girlfriend Lida Fikarova in front of the entire crowd.

Drahoninsky’s post-Games break was his longest stretch without shooting since he made his international debut in 2003. He spent time hand-cycling, fishing and being with friends and family.

“Archery taught me to lose,” Drahoninsky said. “Then I started winning, travelling around the world and getting to know new lands and new people from all over the world. I can do what I enjoy in my life and that’s great.”

His indoor training began in November, when he experimented with a new bow before deciding to stick with his original. He did adjust his stabilizers in preparation for the outdoor season, which began in April.

Although he did not compete in the first leg of the Para Archery European Cup Circuit in Olbia in Italy, he is shooting in the second leg in front of a home crowd at Nove Mesto, from 20-23 July, and then the World Archery Para Championships in Beijing, China, from 12-17 September.

“I look forward to the racing atmosphere and my archery friends, even though they are also rivals,” Drahoninsky said.

In Beijing, Drahoninsky will look to defend the W1 title he won from the Donaueschingen 2015 World Archery Para Championships. It was there he returned to the spotlight, claiming his first world title seven years after winning Paralympic gold at the 2008 Games.