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British Blind Sport Archery Championships: 10 September, Lilleshall National Sports Centre

The Bowyers' Company is very pleased to sponsor the British Blind Sport Outdoor Archery Championships, held each year in the magnificent grounds of the Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire. On 10 September, 14 of the country's best visually-impaired archers met for two days of competition under Archery GB rules, with prizes presented by the Bowyers' Company Master.

Prominent among those competing were Steve Prowse, a partially-sighted gold medallist at the 2015 World Paralympics; while shooting next to him was a completely blind and deaf archer, John Nicholl from Northern Ireland, being coached (entirely by touch signals) by his friend Chris McFadyen, an ex-Royal Navy SBS man who had been wounded in action and fitted with a metal spine, and was himself an archery gold medallist at the 2016 World Invictus Games. It was a most upfilfting day all round, with 8 of the archers achieving new personal best scores, and 5 new championship records set.

Each archer is supported by a spotter to give guidance. In the main fully-blindfold category, each archer has a fixed footmark to stand against, and a 'tactile' metal stand which they can touch (but not rest on) to give themselves a fixed reference point. As can be imagined, a huge amount of time is put in by their friends and families to help and encourage the blind archers, and it makes for a very moving social as well as sporting occasion.

Tony Kench

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