Technology helps SA Olympic archer

2012-06-14 13:00
Olympic Torch Bearer Dennis May holds the Olympic Flame on a boat at the Falkirk Wheel in Falkirk. (Andrew Milligan, PA Wire, AP)

Olympic Torch Bearer Dennis May holds the Olympic Flame on a boat at the Falkirk Wheel in Falkirk. (Andrew Milligan, PA Wire, AP)

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Cape Town - South African archer Karen Hultzer may have an advantage at the 2012 London Olympics in the form of CSIR technologist Johan Steyn.

Steyn is Hultzer's coach and manager, but also uses his expertise in laser technology to improve the accuracy of her archery techniques.

Hultzer's inclusion in the South African Olympic team was still somewhat of a surprise.

"We knew that there was a 90% chance that we would qualify for the Olympics and this was confirmed when the South African Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee [Sascoc] announced the team for the Olympics," said Steyn.

"It has never crossed my mind that one day I will represent my country at the Olympics."

Success

One of the ways that Steyn is helping to assist Hultzer is by building a laser pointing device that she may only use in training.

The device will be strapped to her head and used in a similar manner to a laser pointer to help correct the archer's posture to improve accuracy.

The device isn't a guarantee of success because wind may negatively affect the shot accuracy. Steyn, however, said that Hultzer is prepared for the conditions.

"I think she will do well because she is used to training in bad weather conditions in Cape Town. I have a good feeling about this challenge."

At the Olympics, Hultzer will be in competition against 64 archers, most of whom play the sport for a living. Her coach is allowed to stand 5m behind her and give advice on the shot.

The CSIR has given its support to both trainer and athlete ahead of the showcase event in London that begins on 27 July and runs until 12 August.

"All Johan's colleagues at the CSIR National Laser Centre are immensely proud of his contribution. We are even prouder still that he also utilises laser technology in his coaching techniques - just another thing that lasers can do well," said CSIR National Laser Centre manager, Dr Ndumiso Cingo.


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