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Archery hits the mid Cheshire target
OLYMPIC inspiration is helping a range of less mainstream sports bask in new-found fame or rediscovered glory.
The country’s historic link with the sport of archery is enjoying a resurgence in the light of London 2012, and mid Cheshire boasts its own club with a home in Northwich.
Winnington Park Bowmen was formed in 1957 as part of Winnington Park Recreation Club, in Park Road, and has 30 members, including juniors and senior citizens.
David Ainsbury, from the club, explained the importance of archery in English heritage.
“For several millennia before a ball was kicked through a village marking the birth of football, men shot arrows to survive,” he said.
“At one time, archery was held as being vital to the defence of the realm and in England in the Middle Ages it was compulsory for men and boys of military age to practice regularly.
“Archery is synonymous with England and one of our greatest legendary heroes was an archer.
“But myths and legends aside, archery made England the foremost power in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries.”
He added: “Today, archery has been relegated to a minority sport and yet despite the waning interest in the sport over the centuries, still remains firmly part of English sporting culture.
“Archery has featured as an Olympic sport since 1900, with many British archers topping the world rankings.
“Archery really is a sport for all, men, women, juniors and the disabled.
“All can compete together at the same time, making it one of the few sports suitable for families.
“There is no requirement for any specific ability – you don’t need to be tall or fast, strong or supple – you only need a general interest and a bit of patience to develop the necessary skills.”
Winnington Park Bowmen specialises in target archery and is affiliated to Archery GB.
It has indoor and outdoor facilities, with an outdoor range allowing target shooting of up to 100 yards and an indoor range allowing shooting all year round.
David said: “I took up the sport of archery to enjoy the development of target shooting skills, the pleasure of shooting outdoors on a summer’s morning, the friendly companionship of fellow archers, the physical exercise and the thrill of participating and representing the club in local competitions.
“Archery is a challenging sport, similar to golf in many ways, and requires individuals to develop strength, co-ordination, concentration and the ability to focus on every shot.
“The reward is seeing skills and scores increase and, for a few gifted archers, the progression to represent county and country in national and international competitions such as the Olympic Games.”
• The minimum age for shooting is 10 and there is no maximum. The club welcomes new members of all ages.
• A beginners course is mandatory for anyone wishing to join the club and courses are run twice a year, in February and October.
• Members meet several times a week for practice sessions and on Sundays to shoot formal rounds.
• For more information visit wpbowmen.com or email David on firstname.lastname@example.org.