GAVIN SUTHERLAND’S historic appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games has breathed life into Zimbabwean archery.
The 37-year-old became the first Zimbabwean archer to compete at the Olympics in 28 years and the Zimbabwe Archery Association wants to build on that feat ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“The Archery Association would love to have more athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics and yes we have plans set in motion to qualify and attend this competition,” revealed ZAA president Vic Bartosz said. “Last year Gavin Sutherland, our top male recurve archer, qualified for Rio and participated, which was a huge step in the right direction for us.”
As part of its development drive ZAA recently sent a team to South Africa and Bartosz was impressed by Team Zimbabwe’s performance at the recent 67th South African Archery National Championships. “The country won nine medals in different disciplines. This is the second year running that ZAA has sent a team of athletes to compete in the South African nationals,” he said.
Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe competed at the championships. Bartosz was also chuffed to see Zimbabwe’s juniors also performing well in South Africa. “The best performer accolade should go to our junior archers, Chelsey Hunter and Omer Ohana,” he said. “They are the future of the sport and were brave enough to compete on what is essentially an international stage. It was their first time doing so in a competition of this calibre and so we commend them and encourage them as well as the rest of our athletes to strive for excellence.
“We would also like to qualify our junior archers for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and we thank the Sports and Recreation Commission as well as the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee for all their support to archery.”
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