Reflecting On The Whole World Championship Experience

Janice waving at team at end of gold medal match.

I can’t believe it’s been one month since I returned from the World Archery Para Championships in Donaueschingen, Germany. This really was a pivotal year for visually impaired para archers and something I was thrilled to be part of. You’ve probably read all you care to about my trip, but I’d just like to reflect on Three things that stand out in my mind that made this trip important for me, two of which I believe are also significant to the sport of archery for competitive visually impaired archers, present and future.

Janice shaking hands with Roger after gold medal match.

The first I guess is pretty obvious; it’s a personal achievement of my own – winning the gold medal and establishing the world record in individual 30 meters-72 arrows, Visually Impaired 1. I was thrilled and honored to represent the United States on the field and at the medal ceremony and to hear our National Anthem being played. Having worked hard on my physical and mental game, it felt great when it all came together for me during the gold medal match in front of about 200 spectators and broadcast over Archery TV for family and friends to watch live.

Janice on podium receiving medal and being congratulated by World Archery official.

The second thing that I think was significant resulted out of a great personal disappointment for my fellow visually impaired US archer, Mark Schrand, but hopefully will bring about much needed improvement in the classification process for visually impaired archers. Because of the visually impaired division being broken into two classifications (VI-1 and VI-2/3), all visually impaired participants had to be classified in Donaueschingen the day before the World Championships began. Mark and I followed all the guidelines set by World Archery, including appointments with our own ophthalmologists, having the proper tests performed, and emailing the results to World Archery prior to arriving in Germany. My classification was cut-and-dry since I’m totally blind, and I received my VI-1 classification. However, the vision testing protocol required by the ophthalmologist in Germany proved to be quite arbitrary and inaccurate for measuring a person who has some vision. Mark was denied a classification because he had enough vision to see the chart shown to him in a small room with controlled lighting. As you know, Mark was devastated. The silver lining is that World Archery met regarding the protest Mark filed and agreed that the sight classification process needs to be re-evaluated before any classifications are done in the future. World Archery said there will be no more sight classifications performed for archery until this issue has been resolved. Although he was devastated at not being able to participate in the competition, his presence was invaluable to the advancement of visually impaired archery internationally.

Janice and Mark are standing in front of their target which has their arrows in it. Janice is wearing a Lodi Archery t-shirt and Mark has his Hoyt shirt on.

We look forward to pursuing this and making sure this topic remains at the top of World Archery’s list of priorities for Para-Archery.

Last, but certainly not least, was just being a part of the whole visually impaired presence at the World Championships, which allowed for an on-going dialog throughout the entire competition regarding how to best integrate this category into the competition format. World Archery organizers and officials, checked in with each of the visually impaired archers throughout the qualifying and medal matches, making sure our unique needs such as space on the practice field and proper sighting-in time for competition were met. I was really impressed with how dedicated they were to integrating the visually impaired archers into the competition program and not putting us off on another field or rushing through our competition to get it out of the way, as had been done at prior world championship events. They came up with a good method for achieving quick set-up of our sighting equipment for the medal matches, and they were pleased that we stayed within the acceptable time parameters needed for the television broadcast. Who could ask for more!

Roger, Janice and Hazel on the podium at the medal ceramony with their medals and trophys.

This was a big hurdle to get over in order to be allowed to compete in the Paralympic Games in the near future, hopefully in 2020. In the meantime, we’ll get ready for the next world championships in two years and hope for an even larger turnout by the visually impaired archers!

Janice and Courtney on podium immediately after medal ceramony.

As time goes on, I hope to write about the progress being made on behalf of archers who are visually impaired. Please let me know if you, or anyone you know who is visually impaired, is interested in trying archery. Also, let me know if there are any topics you’d like me to write about on my blog.

Posted in archery | Tagged | 3 Comments

Feeling Honored And Grateful

Janice holder her Prime bow with B-Stinger stabilizers. Her gold medal is around her neck. Her quiver with Carbon Tech arrows is leaning against a table with her trophy.

This was a nice recap of my competition this past Sunday. So honored to be included in the same article with this world class archer, Eric Bennett.

http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Archery/News/Features/2015/August/30/Bennett-and-Walth-Strike-Gold-and-World-Champion-Titles#.VeddmjxBLog.twitter

Thank you Lodi News Sentinel for your interest in my archery journey.

http://www.lodinews.com/sports/article_0c9ea824-5141-11e5-a3a1-9b489b8d9470.html#.Veb7QtYPlMQ.twitter

 

Thanks CBS 13 for your kind recognition of my gold medal and for interest in visually impaired archery.

 

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/09/04/championship-winning-blind-archer-husband-taking-teamwork-to-the-next-level/

 

Posted in archery | Tagged | 1 Comment

Last Days At The World Championships

I’m sitting here in the airport in Toronto waiting for the last leg of our flight home. It’s Monday afternoon on August 31 and I have a lot to reflect on.

 

The bus came at 4:00 this morning to take us to the airport in Zurich. It took Courtney and I 2 hours to get all checked in, including checking baggage, checking in my over-sized bow case, paying for my over-size bow case, going through Customs and then through security. Our flight left at 9:30 and we landed in Toronto at around 12:00 Toronto time. We went through Customs here which took a while, had lunch, and now have about 45 minutes until we begin about a 6 hour flight to San Francisco.

 

The last couple days of competition got pretty busy, so I wasn’t able to update my blog. So here goes… Hopefully I can get this all written by the time we land in San Francisco.

Gold medal match. Matt using his feet to shoot. Andre and Ben in wheelchairs waiting to shoot next to him on the shooting line.

Saturday was a very successful day for the US men’s compound teams. They won gold medals in both their matches. If you get a chance, you really need to check out their matches on YouTube’s World Archery page. You will be amazed at the top notch performances by all four teams and I think a bit surprised at the adaptive techniques used by the archers.

 

In-between rooting on our teams at their medal matches, Courtney and I met up with a few of the visually impaired archers and the officials to practice the format we would be using for our medal matches on Sunday. They wanted to be sure we understood how it would work. The fact that the finals are televised on archery TV made it important that we all were comfortable with it. Steve Prouse from Great Brittan, Claudio Peruffo from Italy and I were the only visually impaired archers who showed up. We set up on the practice field and the officials explained to us how the matches would work. They wanted to be sure everything ran efficiently because of the live-streaming on YouTube. The clock would be set for 20 seconds. The archers would alternate shooting one arrow until each archer had shot three arrows. Then we would pull our arrows and begin again. During the actual medal round, our agent would pull the arrows for us. The official started the clock and each archer’s assistant would tell their archer when it was their turn to shoot and where their arrows were landing on the target. We practiced this for about 45 minutes and everyone was satisfied that it was going to work well.

USA, Italy and Great Britain visually impaired archers practicing timing for medal matches with officials.

After the medal ceremony for the team competition in the afternoon, the visually impaired archers were allowed to set up our foot-locators on the actual shooting line for the medal matches on Sunday. We were allowed to sight in, adjust the foot-locators on the line, and then mark the ground where the equipment had been placed. They wanted us to do this because all the medal matches were going to be televised on YouTube, archery TV, and they didn’t want us to take very much time getting set up. They were worried about losing viewers. After sighting in, we had to remove our equipment and hope that the paint would stay and that the targets would be placed back in the exact location on Sunday for our matches. I asked if I could talk to the commentator who sat up in the booth and announced during the match competitions. I wanted to make sure he understood the technique used by archers who are visually impaired to shoot. He came down and we talked for quite a while about it. I told him that we’d be able to shoot 6 arrows before the competition began so that we could verify that our equipment was placed properly on the line. I suggested that this would be a good time to explain to the audience how an archer who is blind sights, describe the adaptive equipment used, and explain why we are shooting before official competition since none of the archers in the other divisions are allowed to do this. He was very happy to learn about it and that made me feel good and confident that he’d represent us properly.

 

Mark and Kerry and Courtney and I arrived back at the hotel just in time for a special dinner planned by our team manager for the whole team. He had arranged that the restaurant at the hotel would prepare an authentic German dinner for us, reflecting what is eaten by the people in this region. This was no buffet like we had been used to. The salad was fresh, like it had come right out of the garden. The meat was tender and the egg noodles were much different from what we’re used to buying in the store at home. We were able to have one non-alcoholic drink, which was a real treat from the mineral water we’ve been provided all week. The biggest treat of all was that we each could order a dessert from the ice-cream menu. I ordered ice-cream with fresh, warm raspberries that tasted like they’d been picked that day. I’ve never had raspberries so delicious. That was very special and we were all grateful to Phil for arranging it for us.

 

Just before bed we learned that my medal match on Sunday had been moved up from 3:00, to 1:30 in the afternoon. We decided we would sleep in until 7:00, have breakfast at 8:00, and take the 9:00 bus to the field. Paul Miller, the coach who would be my agent during my match, accompanied us to the field. I wanted to practice for a little while that morning. We set up on the practice field and my shots were really strong and I felt good. We left my foot-locator on the field in case I would have a chance to warm up one more time before the match. Mark and Kerry arrived at the field and we had about a half of an hour to take a walk along the Danube River before lunch. I really wanted to get away to a peaceful place to clear my head and relax, and that was the perfect place to do it. We walked down to the river and marveled at the clear, cool water.

Danube River on way into town of Donaueschington

After lunch it was time to move my equipment onto the competition field. My match would be the first match of the afternoon. Courtney placed my equipment on the shooting line, within the marks he had made the evening before and we went back to our tent to wait to be officially called out to the field. That was when I could feel myself getting nervous.

 

A special moment was when Mark came over to me and gave me a commemorative coin of the Blind Veterans Association for good luck. That meant a lot to me and I put it in my pocket to have with me while I shot my match. I could feel it there and knew Mark was pulling for me. Mark has played a big part in my preparation taking me to this point and I’m grateful for his and Kerry’s continuous support and encouragement. It has been a difficult week for Mark with the problems with classifications and so this was a bitter-sweet moment for all of us.

 

When we were called to the staging area to get ready to be announced, I told Courtney I needed to stop yawning because if my mom saw that on the broadcast, she’d know I was nervous. That has been my tell-tale sign of being nervous since I was a little kid. If you watched our home movies of me learning to water ski when I was 8-years-old, you would know what I mean. Anyway, I think I was able to control that by sipping on water and taking deep breaths.

 

Finally the time came and we were called out onto the competition field. My opponent, Rodger, from Great Britain was introduced first and then I was. We walked out with our agents and assistants. My agent, Paul Miller carried my bow and my backup bow and placed them in their spots. My assistant/coach, Courtney, walked me up to my equipment.

 

The horn sounded and we were able to shoot our first 3 sighting arrows. My first arrow was a total miss, as was my second. My third arrow hit the number above the target. Well, that was quite a first impression I had just made, especially after being introduced as the number 1 ranked VI-1 archer in the world. My teammates were very quiet in the stands. The thing that I’m most amazed about and happy about is that I didn’t let that get to me. I kind of wanted to laugh at the irony of it all. I just knew that all that had to be done was for Courtney to adjust my equipment on the line and it would be lined up better, I had to tighten up my shot, and it all would come together. I think Courtney was as nervous as I was because he didn’t get up to move my stand when the horn sounded. So I said “aren’t you going to move my stand?” And he jumped up and made the adjustment and we were ready to try again.

Janice shooting in gold medal round. Courtney is the assistant sitting behind her. Target has number 1 on top indicating the lane she is shooting in.

The three arrows were pulled and the horn went off to shoot the last three sighting arrows. I don’t remember where exactly those three arrows landed, but they were good shots and I was right where I needed to be. That felt so good and gave me such confidence. I was laughing to myself that my teammates were probably very relieved that I got it together. They cheered and I could feel the relief in their cheers.

 

Then it was time to start the match. As number 1 ranked, I got to choose whether I wanted to shoot first or second. Randi, the head coach had told me that it is best to shoot first, so that is what I told them. In set matches, the archer who shoots the most points after the first three arrows gets 2 points. If there is a tie, each archer gets 1 point. I have no memory of the match except that I had one miss, but the rest of my shots were solid and I felt strong. It felt so good to hear my team rooting for me in the stands. That was really exhilarating since I couldn’t see them. I could hear exactly where they were and felt their enthusiasm. I won the first, second and third shooting ends and won the match 6 to 0. It went so fast! It was so much fun!

 

I really believe that my training strategy this year paid off and was the reason why I held it together under that kind of pressure. My main goals this year have been: First, to believe in myself. Believe that I knew how to shoot and could do it consistently if I focused. The second goal was to trust my coach. I taught myself to trust what Courtney tells me and not question it. The third thing was working with Tim Fua, my personal trainer. He helped me train my nervous system to fire my muscles and taught me just how powerful my muscles could be. He figured out early on that all my life I had trained myself to have a light touch in everything I do so that I don’t injure myself or break things around me by moving too fast or too strong. I needed to learn how I could use my muscles in a different way for sports. I know this is what kept me strong under the pressure of a quick match, a large audience, that fact that it was being televised, and missing three times right out of the box.

 

After the match, Courtney pulled my equipment off the line and the head coach, Randi, walked me off the field. She said I was shaking. There were lots of World Archery people and others taking pictures and Randi told me just to stand there and smile.

 

When I got back to our tent, I heard my text going off on my phone and was so excited to read that my brother Brian and his family and my mom had been able to watch the match live on the internet. Technology is really great!

 

Then I was able to settle down and get ready to watch our teammate, Eric Benet, shoot his gold medal match in the recurve men’s open competition. His was a pretty spectacular match and he won gold too.

Janice standing on platform at awards ceramony with gold medal around her neck and holding trophy. Courtney stands in the background.

Immediately after Eric’s match was the medal ceremony. Courtney walked me out to the platform and then stood behind us with the other assistants from Great Britain and Australia. The bronze medal went to Hazel from Australia, the silver to Rodger from Great Britain, and then came me. The delegate put the medal around my neck and we did the double cheek kiss. Then a German delegate presented me with a trophy. The most unbelievable part was when they played the National Anthem. I just stood there and marveled at the whole experience. I couldn’t believe that the National Anthem was being played at the medal ceremony for VI-1 archery and it was because of me. It was very moving and I can remember thinking about my dad and I could feel him there experiencing it with me.

Janice sitting on the bus with her medal around her neck and her trophy in her lap

The only thing left was to go back to the hotel, try to get some packing done, and get ready for the closing party at the organizer’s hotel in Donaueschingen. The bus picked us up at 7:00 and took us to the party. It was pretty spectacular. There were many rooms set up with different types of food in each. There was Champaign and beer for all who wanted it. There was good water and sodas too. The food was German food, not typical banquet buffet. Very unique sausages, bread, salad and seafood. Mark said it was important to try things you’d never had before. I said he should go right ahead and do that. He tried the eel which he said was slimy on the outside, chewy and kind of like oatmeal on the inside. I told him that was really gross. He said, “yes it is.” I was happy for him to have the experience and not me. Of course, the best part was the Black Forest Cake. I think that was my favorite with the rich chocolate cake and the wonderful fresh cherries.

Kerry, Mark, Janice and Courtney at their table at the party. Beer steins on the table.

There were a couple of bands playing. We enjoyed the German band and Courtney and I made a spectacle of ourselves dancing the polka and the waltz in honor of his dad who passed away two years ago.

 

 

We mingled a bit and then took the 10:00 bus back to our hotel to finish packing and try to get a few hours sleep before being taken to the airport this morning.

 

On the bus, Randi Smith (head coach) brought me a certificate she’d been given at the party. It said “Janice Walth established the world record in individual 30 meters-72 arrows, Visually Impaired 1, with a score of 362 points in Donaueschingen (GER) on 24 August 2015.” The team cheered and congratulated me. It was a great moment to share with the whole USA team.

Janice's world record certificate.

Letter from World Archery regarding world record.

Back at our room, I had a few more hours to listen to the wonderful church bells in the village rung on the quarter hour. It’s really interesting how you become accustom to the bells and actually have to listen for them after a week. I’m going to miss them.

 

One interesting little observation I’d like to share with you is how different Europeans manage their ventilation in their living environments compared to the States. I can see why we have one of the largest carbon footprints on the planet. The buildings and buses were bearly air-conditioned, if at all. Buildings have wonderful large windows, but nobody opens them. They don’t suffer the heat like we do and don’t need cool, dry facilities. It’s really an eye-opener on how much energy it must take to condition our living spaces to achieve our level of comfort.

 

Well, that’s about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my time at the World Archery Para Championships in Donaueschingen, Germany. Looking forward to getting home and seeing everyone.

 

A special thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout the years and especially this year. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for your encouragement, enthusiasm and generosity.

 

 

Posted in archery | Tagged | 3 Comments

My Gold Medal Match Live Streamed Tomorrow

Just a quick note to let you know that World Archery will be live streaming my gold medal match tomorrow on archery TV. This link should help to get you there.

 

 

If you don’t want to get up at 4:30 in the morning pacific time to watch, you can replay it later.

 

 

It’s been a very long day so I’ll have to update you later. The team won two gold medals in the men’s compound Open and W1 categories! Very exciting and can be viewed on archery TV on YouTube as well.

 

I talked to the field announcer today who has been giving commentary all week and will be for the medal matches tomorrow on archery TV. I gave him the run-down on visually impaired archery so he can provide knowledgeable color. I wanted to make sure he had some idea about what he was watching and reporting on. He seemed very happy to learn about the technique of shooting visually impaired. Hope you are able to watch!

Posted in archery | Tagged | Leave a comment

Exploring village, Some Practice and Cheering On Individual Matches

This morning we got up early so we could have breakfast, visit the church that has the bell tower and get to the field in time to practice and meet the Bogen Archery Magazine reporter for an interview he had requested yesterday. It is a German publication.

 

Courtney began the day by getting out of bed and going downstairs with the video camera to capture the sights and sounds of the church bell tower. I didn’t realize it would still be dark at 6:00, so I don’t think there was much to see. I was just interested in hearing the playing of the Angeles anyway. Then the 4 of us went down for breakfast and I uploaded my blog for yesterday’s events.

ChurchFromBalcony 

After breakfast, the four of us set off to see the church grounds. There is a beautiful cemetery that goes back to the 1800’s. Lots of beautiful grave markers, very well taken care of, and a moving monument to World War II.

Mark admiring World War II monument

We couldn’t get into the church, so we walked up the hill a bit to another church which is being renovated. There was a nice view of the village from there.

 VillageFromAbove

By the time we walked back, the bus had arrived and we set out for the archery field.

 

Kerry and Mark sat with the team and cheered on the individuals who were shooting their elimination matches today. Eric Bennett made it into the gold medal round on Sunday and was on cloud 9.

 

Courtney and I made our way to the practice field. Courtney set up my equipment and the Bogen Archery Magazine reporter/photographer brought a gentleman over with a microphone to interview me. The interviewer didn’t speak English, so the photographer translated for us. It was really fun talking to them. They were really interested in how I got started shooting archery, why I like shooting archery, and how I compared this World Championship experience to the one in 2009 in the Czech Republic. The photographer said he was going to do an article for the Bogen Archery Magazine with pictures and he would send it to us.

 

We spent about 1 ½ hours practicing shooting my form and working on a cadence for loading my bow and shooting my shot. I had Courtney count to ten while I loaded my bow and then count down 20 seconds so I could work on pacing my shot and not rushing it. I felt pretty good about it toward the end.

 

Then we put everything away and watched the visually impaired archers shoot their semi-final matches to determine who would be shooting in the medal matches on Sunday. I found out that I will be shooting against Roger Rees-Evans from Great Britain in the gold medal match for the VI-1 category. Carmel Bassett from Great Britain and the Italian archer, Claudio Peruffo, will compete in the bronze match in the VI-2/3 category. Steve Prowse and Peter Price, VI-2/3 archers from Great Britain will compete in the gold medal match for their category.

 

Now we have a new situation to experience as visually impaired archers. We are, for the first time, being included in the medal matches on the same field as all the other Para archers. This means they will need to make accommodations for us to set up our foot-markers/sighting aids and get sighted in for our matches. The technical delegate explained to us that the medal matches will be broadcast live on archery TV on YouTube. So they are interested in showing that archery can be an interesting sport for spectators. Because they’re worried that the visually impaired archers could take too long to sight in before the match, causing viewers to get board and change the channel, they are going to let us set up and sight in on Saturday evening after the team matches are finished. When we have sighted in, they are going to use spray paint to mark where we have placed our foot-markers. We will then remove them from the shooting line. When we shoot our match on Sunday, we will place our foot-markers where the paint indicates they should be. We’ll then get to shoot 6 arrows to fine tune the sighting. I’m so lucky Courtney is so good at getting me sighted in quickly. We’ve had a lot of practice through the years and it will hopefully pay off on Sunday.

 

We were also informed that we will need an assistant and an agent when we shoot the medal matches. The assistant (Courtney) will call where my arrows hit the target and will tell me when it is my turn to shoot. We’ll be alternating shooting with our opponent. The assistant will sit down, 1 meter behind the shooting line so that they aren’t blocking the TV cameras. Usually the assistant stands. The agent will be in charge of scoring my arrows, pulling them and bringing them back to me. My agent will be Paul Miller, another coach on the team. There will be an announcer calling out scores and standings for the spectators. Very nerve-racking, but fun!

 

I’ll find out more about archery TV on YouTube, but see if you can find it. I would imagine my match will be sometime around 6:00 AM Sunday morning, PDT (3:00 my time).

 

Tomorrow will be team finals. The USA has 4 teams competing for medals. The first match begins at 8:30. We’ll get on the 8:00 bus to get to the range to cheer on our teams. I’ll be practicing the head-to-head format with the other VI archers sometime tomorrow to be sure everyone has the format down since it’s a brand new thing for everyone.

 

We did get to go back to the church this evening to take a look inside. It was beautiful and very quiet. Courtney took a picture from the choir loft.

Posted in archery | Tagged | 5 Comments

Another Trip to Donaueschingen And Cheering On Our Fellow Archers

Today we decided to make another trip into Donaueschingen. We took the 9:00 bus to the archery field. We met up with the Team Manager who said he was planning to walk into town to check it out while he had a break. We asked if he wanted to join us and we’d show him what we’d found when we went on Tuesday. So we set off on the lovely walk through the park and into town, stopping on the way for many photo ops.

Mark, Kerry, Janice, Courtney and Phil on bridge coming into town UsOnBridgeWithTeamManager

Team Manager, Phil, said he wanted to check out a place where the team might be able to go for dinner. It needed to be wheelchair accessible and affordable, and it had to be authentic German food. We took him to the café where we had coffee on Tuesday and the manager directed us to the Furstenberg Brewery which has a nice restaurant. We walked over there and let Phil negotiate while we took more pictures. Then we all went to the bank and showed Phil the nice souvenir shop we had found. We saw some of our teammates there.

 

Phil went on his way back to the archery field and we decided to go to the grocery store there in town. Kerry and Mark were dying for some soda and we hoped to find some lemon juice to squirt into our bottled water to make it better tasting. We found both and some wonderful treats. It was a nice little store with lots of fresh items.

 

From there we went back to our favorite café. Kerry and Mark got Apple Strudel and truffles. Courtney and I shared authentic Black Forest Cake. I had a cup of cappuccino and Courtney had a milk coffee. We sat there for a long time, hooked up to their wifi, posting to Facebook and having fun reading everyone’s comments.

 

On our way back to the archery range, we passed an area where kids were playing and there were concession stands. Courtney got a bratwurst and fries which he thoroughly enjoyed. We ran into one of the World Archery photographers and he helped Courtney order. He asked if I would have time tomorrow to do an interview for Bogen Sports Magazine . He’s going to meet us at the practice range at 10:00. That should be fun. I’m going to have Courtney try to video tape it for me.

 

When we got back to the archery field, we were just in time for the afternoon individual elimination rounds. The four of us found a bench and cheered on our team all afternoon. At the end of the day, after announcing the winners, the announcer gave special recognition to the USA and Italy for the best cheering squad. That was really fun.

 

When we got back to the hotel, a polka band was playing in the bar. Courtney took a video of them playing and the audience playing spoons to the music. It seems like an event that brings out the whole village. We really enjoyed listening to them. The crowd sang along with songs and were having a great time. We can hear them from our room. It’s after 10:00 and they’re still going strong.

 

Tomorrow morning I have a mission for Courtney. He’s such a good sport. I’m going to set the alarm to go off before 6:00 so that he can get up and go downstairs in time to video the church up the way playing the Angeles at 6:00. It happens every morning and I think it’s wonderful. I’ll post it if it works out.

 

Tomorrow morning (Friday) we’re going to visit the church up the street. Some of the archers have gone and say it is just beautiful. I sure would like to go to Mass on Sunday if possible. Then we’ll go to the field to practice and do the interview. A woman from World Archery, who is from Holland, wants to see me shoot and talk to us about how to start up a program for their visually impaired citizens. In the afternoon will be the visually impaired competitions that will determine who shoots in the medal rounds on Sunday. I’ll find out who I will be shooting against.

 

Well, Courtney is washing shirts and it’s time for some sleep, if the polka band will let us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in archery | Tagged | 2 Comments

Supporting the Team and Practicing Head-to-Head Shooting

Recurve Women's team with their coach

Today was the elimination rounds for mixed teams and teams. A mixed team consists of two archers, one male and one female, in the same classification. Teams consist of three archers of the same gender and classification. Visually impaired category doesn’t shoot team rounds yet. There aren’t enough of us to make up full teams yet. The mixed teams shot in the morning. Two countries are paired according to their rankings from the qualifying rounds shot earlier this week. The teams have 2 minutes to shoot 3 arrows each. They alternate shooting until all arrows are shot. Depending on the classification, the winner is determined when the set score reaches 5, or the highest number of actual target points scored. It’s really a stressful way to compete, especially knowing your teammates are watching you. We all tried to cheer them on and encourage them.

 

In team competition, 3 archer teams are paired up according to their ranking from the qualifying round. Each of the 3 archers shoot 2 arrows, alternating until they have shot both their arrows. Our teams did really well. Many are going into the medal rounds on Saturday. They also were able to earn several slots for the US Paralympic team going to Rio next year. If a team or an individual makes it into the semi-finals, they automatically earn a slot for the team in the Paralympic Games in Rio. If they win a medal, they earn a slot for themselves in the Paralympics in Rio next year. You can see that this is a real serious thing for these archers.

Janice shooting while Courtney times her. 

After lunch, before the team competitions resumed, Mark and I set up at the practice field to practice head-to-head shooting for my gold medal round on Sunday. I’m so lucky to have Mark here to help me out with this. It’s a very stressful format to compete in and I learned a lot about what I need to work on. I will be paired up with the winner of the elimination round shot on Friday. We will shoot 3 arrows, but will have to alternate our shots with our opponent. So the clock will start. Courtney will tell me to go and I will have 20 seconds to shoot my first arrow. As soon as I shoot that arrow, my opponents coach will say go, and that archer will shoot their first arrow. This will continue until we both have shot our 3 arrows. The archer scoring the most points will receive 2 points. If we tie, we will each receive 1 point. We will do the same thing again until someone reaches 6 points. What I discovered that I need the most work on is loading my bow fast enough so I’m ready as soon as my opponent has shot the arrow. Mark shoots pretty fast, so I was having a hard time loading my bow fast enough. Most of the time, my 20 seconds would begin before I was ready and I’d wind up with 10 seconds to actually shoot my shot. I’m so glad I was able to practice this and discovered what I need to work on in plenty of time to get comfortable with it.

 

Tomorrow we’re going to go back to Donaueschingen to look around some more and to have some good coffee and sweets!

 

I have to make a quick mention about the water here. They give us bottled water. It’s mineral water and really doesn’t taste very good at all. It’s getting harder and harder to drink. It leaves a weird texture in your mouth and really doesn’t seem very thirst quenching at all. Tomorrow we’re going to try to find some lemon juice that we can squirt into it to make it more enjoyable.

 

Courtney wanted to go down to the restaurant to post this and get some ice-cream, but he’s asleep, so I’m not sure that will happen. I may have to post tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in archery | Tagged | 2 Comments