Archers keep on target despite COVID-19 difficulties

Samuel Bugg fires during a sanctioned shoot at Takhini Elementary in Whitehorse on April 28, 2021. Yukon archers are some of the only athletes able to shoot amidst the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)Samuel Bugg fires during a sanctioned shoot at Takhini Elementary in Whitehorse on April 28, 2021. Yukon archers are some of the only athletes able to shoot amidst the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Archers line up at their designated location to fire on target. (John Tonin/Yukon News)Archers line up at their designated location to fire on target. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to the Canadian indoor nationals as archers across the country were unable to get access to their facilities.

This cancellation, however, did not stop the Yukon archers from competing on April 28. Although it was not the event anticipated, the Yukon archer’s scores were still registered with Archery Canada.

For head coach Warren Kapaniuk, the local shoot went as anticipated.

“It went as good as I expected,” said Kapaniuk. “It was an opportunity to shoot for the new kids, and more practice for the competitive team as well as the officials.”

The big success for Kapaniuk was that five archers, recently new to the sport, vied in their first competitive event.

“It went really well and I think they enjoyed it,” said Kapaniuk. “They weren’t fidgeting and they were really into it all the way to the last end.”

Also a positive for Kapaniuk was the competitive team’s willingness to help out their new archery teammates.

“They were excited to see them get through their first competition,” said Kapaniuk. “This is how the sport will continue to grow and succeed.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor archery shoots have been few and far between. There was an event last March, shortly after the 2020 Arctic Winter Games were cancelled, and one more in December.

Kapaniuk said there were some hiccups for the veterans of the team.

“A few struggled, but lots has changed for them,” said Kapaniuk. “They’ve switched from half-day to full-day at school and it is mentally tough.”

Kapaniuk touched on the importance of mental fortitude when it comes to archery.

“We were talking with the athletes and they spoke about how much the mental game can affect a score,” said Kapaniuk. “Some said the mental side is 80 per cent of their score.

“If you’re having troubles that day it could lead to a low score. Mental concentration is a skill, like shooting the bow, that has to be maintained.”

Even though some struggled, Kapaniuk said he was proud of the effort the archers put forward.

“The fact that they went out, competed and shot the whole event is big,” said Kapaniuk. “They still kept that competition mindset.”

Archery Canada, Kapaniuk said, has cancelled all its events through the summer and into next year. Although the archers won’t be able to travel, Kapaniuk said they are lucky here in the Yukon that they still get to shoot.

When they can travel and compete again, Kapaniuk said they will be ready.

In the meantime, Kapaniuk said although this was the last indoor shoot of the year, the focus will shift outdoors where several events are in the works.

Contact John Tonin at john.tonin@yukon-news.com

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