Ann Johnson, Sam D’Aprile and Graham Bultitude scored highly in the international archery competition.
Ann Johnson, Sam D’Aprile and Graham Bultitude scored highly in the international archery competition.

Local archers aim high and win

It’s not Errol Flynn or cupid, but members of the Great Eastland Archers who have been shooting arrows to take out top honours in the 2010 International Field Archery Association competition.

With 220 archers taking part in the world-wide competition, five of the Lismore-based club’s members have received high rankings.

“Over a three month period, club members shot at a 40cm wide target with five scoring rings, from a distance of 20 yards,” club organiser Graham Bultitude said. “They then totalled up their best scores and entered them into the competition.”

Graham took first place in the compound 55 and over category and Ann Johnson took first place in the lady compound 55 and over. Sam D’Aprile scored second place in the longbow 55 and over, with Sean Kenman placing 5th in the junior category and Jacob Armstrong placing 20th in the open division.

Graham said that many of the other archery clubs who were competing in the competition practised in indoor archery areas and would have had greater accuracy rates.

“We don’t have an indoor area here, so when we shoot our arrows outside, we have to contend with the wind and there is a greater chance of error when aiming at a target,” Graham said.

Graham said he knew he was shooting pretty well as the competition progressed and was running 5th overall throughout the competition.

Graham has been an archer for 40 years and at 72 years of age, he represented Australia in the 2009 World Masters Games where he won two gold medals, as well as a silver and a bronze.

“When I was a kid, I used to slice up bamboo reeds and make them into a bow and I used to love watching Errol Flynn when I was younger,” he said.

Ann Johnson has been shooting for 10 years and has also won medals at the World Masters Games.

“I’ve been trying to promote archery as a sport that women can do,” she said. “You don’t have to be strong. A compound bow takes a lot of the strain as you pull back the string.”

Vince, one of the club’s members, said he suffered from past injuries and that archery was a great sport that he could still do.

“The compound bow has a pulley system which is quite sophisticated,” he said. “I can draw the string of a 50 pound bow, but when I am holding it, I am only holding ten pounds.”

While most of the club’s members use compound bows, Sam D’Aprile used a more traditional recurve wooden ‘longbow’. Unlike the more powerful compound bows, as the string on the longbow is pulled back, it gets more difficult to hold.

“The arrows from a longbow arch in flight and there is more variation,” he said. “You have to judge the wind and the distance more carefully, whereas arrows from a compound bow fly flat and almost twice as fast.”

Sam said he was attracted to the romantic side of archery.

“It’s the Robin Hood in me,” he said. “Archery is an ancient sport and a spiritual art. It was a way of life, for hunting and warfare. It’s still in our genes from our ancestors. You shoot instinctively and it’s just you and the arrow.”

With many styles of archery to choose from, from 3D to target and field archery, Graham invites anyone who would like to get involved in archery to come along to a club practice session and borrow one of the club bows.

“You need to shoot at least a couple of time a week to build up your muscles so you can pull the poundage,” Graham said. “And make sure you have a teacher so you don’t build up bad technique.

“Where would the world be without the arrow? You would be going in circles without it.”

The group meets every Saturday morning from 9am-noon in Arthur Park, North Lismore. If you would like more information, phone Graham on 6622 1949 or Ann on 6628 4564.

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