Buffalo Archery Club right on target with haul of eight medals
THE Buffalo Archery Club recently took home eight medals at the National Archery in the Schools Programme (NASP) Eastern Cape Championships held in Port Alfred.
Competing among pupils from various schools in Port Alfred, Uitenhage, Jeffreys Bay and Graaff-Reinet, the Buffalo Archery Club took home a total of three gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze.
Winning gold medals in the junior boys categories, were Josh Lindstrom and Jared Swart. In the senior girls category, Sarah Ford was the gold medal winner in the 3D category.
Started as the Gonubie Archery Club in 2013, the Buffalo Archery Club consists of 30 archers from various schools around East London, including Beaconhurst, Hudson Park, Stirling, Clarendon and Bellafides schools.
“I wanted to start a sport, something different, that every child can take part in no matter what size, how strong, or how short or tall they are. Kids from grades 4 to 12 can do archery and when it comes to competitions, everyone shoots with the same bow and uses the same arrows,” Buffalo Archery Club founder and instructor Ludwig Ehrke said.
The archers do not only compete for their club but also for their schools. They compete as juniors and seniors in two categories, namely the Bulls Eye (2D) and 3D category which was only introduced last year.
Archers are expected to shoot a bullseye target at distances of 10 and 15m at competitions. In the 3D category, archers get to shoot at 3D models of animals.
“In the beginning we were not as competitive as the other schools and clubs in the Eastern Cape, but now we are a force to be reckoned with as at every competition the club walks away with a few medals, especially in the junior section. I am also proud of one of my junior archers, Jared Swart, who has won the EC champs for three years in a row,” Ehrke said.
In South Africa, archery is a well-known sport in Gauteng, North West, the Western Cape, Mpumalanga and Free State, but as it is a relatively new sport in the Eastern Cape, the club relies on the involvement and enthusiasm of the archers and their parents.
“The parents support their archers very well when it comes to practices and competitions,” Ehrke said.
“We are slowly but surely growing in the Eastern Cape with one club in East London, two in Port Alfred, one in Graaff-Reinet, one in Uitenhage and now a new one in Humansdorp,” he said.
With 17 archers in the three Eastern Province teams, the Buffalo Archery Club will be participating at the Inter-Provincials and the 2017 NASP Nationals to be held next month in Uitenhage.
Having completed his Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) and Basic Archery Instructor Trainer (BAIT) course, Ehrke hopes that under his coaching, the team will continue to succeed and grow.
“A lot of work goes into getting the archers to understand the disciplines of the sport as everything revolves around safety and whistle commands on the range. Archery is a fun sport, but it is sometimes a challenge to get that through to the archers, especially during a competition,” Ehrke said.
“I love coaching archery and I am very passionate about this fast-growing sport. The archers have put in a lot of time and effort and I’m very proud of all that they have accomplished.”