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More people taking a shot at archery
OLYMPIC fever may have started to die down, but the Games have definitely left their mark on the county.
There were 36 sports contested at this years event and all of them can be done right here in Oxfordshire.
Over the coming months we will look at many of them. This week, reporter Pete Hughes finds out about archery.
THE tweak of a taught nylon bowstring, the whoosh of a flying carbon aluminium arrow and the thwack of metal into a straw target.
These are the sounds of the quintessentially English and increasingly popular sport of modern archery, and Oxfordshire boasts some of its finest practitioners.
The Oxford Archers club has been practising for 60 years.
One of its coaches is Nichola Simpson from Marston, who won a gold medal with the English archery team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.
She said: “Archery is one of those sports you can start at any age and carry on right up until you’re 90. I know a chap who shot in the Olympics at 60.
“We have had 31 beginner inquiries in the past month – we usually have five or six a month – so we are trying to work out a plan to fit them in before it starts getting dark too early.”
The first recorded archery competition was held in Finsbury, London, in 1583 and attracted 3,000 participants. And the National Archery finals were held at Oxford’s Christ Church Meadow in August.
New trainees must pass a short course of four to six lessons to learn safety aspects, and a beginners’ bow can cost about £150, with arrows about £6 each.
The Oxford Archers practise at the Oxford Rugby Club ground in North Hinksey and have six coaches, from beginner to international level.
The Banbury Cross Archers club started last May and had interest before it even opened. It now has more than 100 members and 92 waiting.
Membership secretary Lana Weston said: “Archery is less physical than other sports, it is about technique and consistency.
“One of our main aims to be a friendly club, where people meet up to de-stress and relax with a bit of shooting.”
Members aged 11 to 70 train up to three times a week at the Warriner School in Bloxham.
- For more on Oxford Archers go to oxford-archers.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org . For more on Banbury Cross, visit banburycrossarchers.co.uk or call Lana Weston on 01295 254906.