STRICT lockdown measures around the world gave rise to a completely new kind of sports tournament that enabled participants to compete on a continental level from the safety of their own back yard.
Young Namibian archers from the National Archery Schools Programme (NASP) competed against archers from countries across Africa in the first ever international virtual tournament to determine who would be the continental champion.
Not only did young Namibian archers excel in the tournament but the novel way of competing with archers situated thousands of kilometres away from them on a virtual platform while referees and judges were able to monitor the event in real time, opened up new possibilities for the sport. It also means that sport codes that are still prohibited in its traditional form are able to go ahead without contravening lockdown regulations.
The first ever virtual international archery tournament took place last weekend where the top six archers of each country determined their teams’ scores.
In this regard Elsjen Wilders a Grade 12 learner from the Windhoek Gymnasium achieved a third place in the female category and achieved seventh place overall in both male and female categories. She was the Namibian with the highest score behind three young South African archers who consistently achieved scores of 299 out of possible 300 in the different categories of the competition.
Another Namibian archer, Mybri Schoonbee, who was part of the Namibian development team achieved a third place in the male category and came fourth overall.
Other young Namibians achievers were Alexander Abrahams with a score of 288 out of a possible 300, Denzel Nanum with 285, Johannes Booysen also with 285, Damien Beukes with 284 and Ronelle Raes with a score of 280 out of a possible 300.
The achievement of Namibia’s top young archers assured them the third place overall in the continental tournament. South Africa took top honours with a total score of 1 777. The Zimbabwean team came second with a total of 1 749, while the Namibians managed a total score of 1 707. Botswana fielded a team of only three archers and managed a total score of 847 to give them the fourth place in the tournament.
To compete in the first ever international virtual archery tournament participants had to broadcast their efforts live while referees and range marshals kept a close eye on the shooting. All the shooting range rules and disciplines had to be observed and adhered to for the effort to count.
Each archer had to shoot five arrows in three rounds on targets 10 and 15 metres away from the shooting line which meant that they launched 15 arrows for each distance totalling 30 arrows.
As with anything that happens for the time, valuable lessons were learned and organisers indicated that in future, the hosting of an international tournament on virtual platforms, will definitely be refined.