Edgeworth archer Josh Ford will return from the Australian Nationals this week as a back-to-back champion, having made a clean sweep of his three bow-hunting categories.
Hosted by the Dead Centre Bowhunters club in Alice Springs, Josh competed in the National Safari, 3D Championships and International Field Archery Association (IFAA) five-day Championships.
With different structures and formats, the three categories were spread over a week of competition in the dry and rugged outback.
“It’s hot, real hot,” Josh said of the Alice Springs range.
“It’s pushing the 40 degree mark once you get out there. The flies are buzzing up your nose and in your eyes.
“Some parts are steep and rocky, and other parts are nice and flat, which is good because it gives us variation.”
In the ABA Safari, he finished first in the Junior Boys Freestyle Unlimited B Grade with a score of 1510.
In the 3D Championships, he won the Junior Boys Freestyle Unlimited A Grade with a score of 2238.
During the Safari and 3D, archers shoot at 20 different targets in two daily sessions. Although they never know the target’s distance and must estimate the length.
“I was so excited when I took out the gold in both of those categories,” Josh said.
“It’s not just taking out the gold, it’s leading up to it with all the training and preparation. Also who you shoot with on the day, because you walk around in a group of four.”
On Sunday, the final day of the tournament, Josh won the IFAA Championship - a five day competition.
Shooting 476 arrows, not including warm ups, he eclipsed the rest of the field to claim the title for the second consecutive year with a score of 1546.
Targets in the IFAA round are similar to those used in the Olympics and are placed anywhere from 20 feet to 50 yards away. Archers walk around the range and shoot at 28 targets each day.
The Nationals are a unique tournament as the field is aged from pre-teens to above 80. Josh reckons shooting with senior archers can have its benefits.
“You’re always bettering and developing your skills,” he said. “You’re always learning and looking at what people are doing. Trying to better yourself.”
Josh will head off to South Africa in September for World IFAA Championships, which are held every 2 years. He competed at the event when it was last held in 2016 at Wagga Wagga, winning a gold medal in the Junior Boys C Grade category.
A member of Boolaroo Bowmen, Josh has been involved in the sport since his early teens. He got his start in archery from Scouts with the Maryland-Shortland group.
He is now teaching junior Scouts the finer skills and assisted with the Corroboree held at Tocal in January.
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