USA Archery has announced its 12-strong squad for the 2017 World Archery Para Championships following team trials held in July in Salt Lake City.
The trials included round robin matches for the top eight competitors in the compound open and recurve open men’s divisions. USA Archery then presented the team headed to Beijing, China on 12-17 September following the qualification rounds.
With competitive scores, Paralympian Michael Lukow and Timothy Palumbo locked up the top two recurve open men’s slots. Filling the third spot was brand new archer, Kevin Mather, who was competing in his first major archery event after picking up the sport about two years ago.
Mather, a former triathlete who has also represented the US at the World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, said: “I just feel in love with archery and decided to give this a try and go with it; honesty, it’s insane to me at the moment. I definitely didn’t expect to make the team, one always hopes, but I’m so excited. For me, this means a lot of hard work to get prepared to show up on the world stage and perform well.”
“If there’s anything you enjoy and there’s something holding you back from trying to pursue it fully, I’d encourage people to let go of that fear,” added Mather. “A lot of times we put that fear of failure in our own way and we’re afraid to fail and to make 100 per cent effort, because at the end of the day, we can say I tried 100 per cent and I still wasn’t good enough. You have to let that barrier down so you can throw all you have into something because you’ll never really know until you go for it.”
Lia Coryell will represent the women’s W1. Defending world champions Jeff Fabry, Jerry Shields and Chuck Lear will represent the men’s W1.
Benjamin Thompson and Paralympic champion Andre Shelby had the compound open men’s field locked down. But the race for the third slot was tight between several incredible shooters. Finally clinching the win was 2013 World Championship team member Lance Thornton.
“It was a rough weekend, I had some mechanical issues so to come back, battle, and make it feels real good,” shared Thornton. “Representing the US is an honour, it makes you feel proud to be able to do that.”
Filling out the team are compound open women Martha Chavez and Tink Wallace.
“We have an incredibly strong team right now,” commented national Para head coach Randi Smith. “They have been here working hard for a week already, training and growing as a supportive family. We are going to continue that hard work and I am very proud to bring this team to China to represent Team USA.”
More on the USA’s 2017 World Archery Para Championships can be found on Team USA’s website