SPORTS

Shooting For Glory

  Archer Robert Elder is excited and at the same time wary of the competition he will be up against ahead of the Rio Olympics in Brazil next month. The
26 Jul 2016 12:06
Shooting For Glory
Robert Elder during training yesterday.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

 

Archer Robert Elder is excited and at the same time wary of the competition he will be up against ahead of the Rio Olympics in Brazil next month.

The 34-year-old, who has links to Mount Macedon in Victoria, Australia, and Vasunavutu, Naitasiri, qualified on merit in April.

With archery being a minor sport in the country, not many know about what’s involved. It is far more complicated, which Elder has been training hard for.

“I need to maintain my fitness because with archery it involves different muscles, it’s not like rugby where they use their legs. With archery it involves the back muscles, so I need to keep those muscles flexible,” Elder said.

“There are lots of things I need to be aware of such as the wind direction and there are about 25 different steps you have to remember.

“Each arrow you shoot has to be consistent, if the string is not lined, you are not standing straight or your head is tilted, the arrow goes off.”

With the first round of competitions being a ranked round, Elder hopes to get seeded into the middle of the pack to compete against shooters of his caliber.

“There will be a ranking round when we start off where everybody shoots together and you get your ranking and determined on your ranking you will find out who you shoot against,” he said.

“I hope to be placed in the middle of the pack so my opponent shoots the same as me. If I get placed higher, I will get placed with the top in the world like the Koreans and that is their national sport so it will be harder.”

It has not been all smooth sailing for Elder to get where he is today. Sacrifice and hard work has contributed to his success over the years.

“To qualify on merit feels pretty awesome, there was a lot of sacrifices I had to make, like leaving my family but it feels good now to know that has paid off.

“There were a lot of financial challenges, because most of the competitions are held in Europe and it is a lot of money getting to these places.

“So the only competitions I could take part in and had for exposure was either in Australia or New Zealand.

“While most people are aiming for a medal, I am not putting any pressure on myself to win a medal. I just want to do my best and if I come out with a medal than I would be over the moon,” Elder said.

Taking up archery for almost 18 years now, Elder said the sport has grown slowly but with his qualification in April, the number of interested members has increased.

“Getting into the Rio Olympics has really boosted the profile of the sport; we have 40 new members within the last two months,” he said.

“I think it has open peoples’ eyes and minds and making them realise that there is archery in Fiji. But we are doing well now with a lot of interested newcomers.” Edited by Osea Bola

justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj

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