Young KZN archer brings back a bronze

2012-02-18 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S 16-year-old Patrick O’Neill has brought home a bronze medal from this month’s World Archery Championships in Las Vegas.

The St Charles College pupil returned on Thursday night after spending two weeks in the U.S.

He said: “It makes you realise how much harder you need to work.

“I was among three of the best archers in the country and we didn’t rank very high. It was a wake-up call.”

Patrick started shooting five years ago and has had his South African colours in archery for the last three years.

“I used to always mess around playing with bamboo and I would make bows from everything that I could get my hands on,” he said.

“About five years ago, I walked past a booth at the Royal Show for a local archery store, which led me to buy my first compound bow and start shooting.”

His enjoyment in the sport spread through the family and his father, James, and sister Emily soon followed in his footsteps. They both have their national colours for archery.

Emily (13) holds South African records for her age group and James is the vice-chair of the PMB Archery Club.

Nine South Africans were chosen to participate in the World Archery Championships — three junior men, one junior woman, two women and three men — Patrick being the only one from outside Gauteng.

The South African Protea Archery Compound Junior Men’s team was ranked second after a tense individual 60-arrow round and went straight to the quarter-finals against Mexico.

However, they lost the advantage and Mexico won the match 225-228 out of a possible total of 240.

In the bronze match against Italy, they led from the outset and won by a single point.

In the individual results for the junior team Reinhard Louw came second, James Scoons came out 17th and Patrick was placed 24th.

The PMB Archery club will be hosting the National Indoor Championship at the Natal Carbineers Drill Hall in October.

Anyone interested in joining the club should call James at 083 440 3189.

• tharna.devchand

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