Nine archers from Kelowna’s Junior Olympic Archery Program recently put Kelowna in the top tier of B.C. competitive youth shooting.
Going up against some 200 archers province-wide, the contingent that trains at the Kelowna and District Fish and Game Club registered a remarkable three firsts, three seconds and a third, fourth and fifth in competition held simultaneously at five centres throughout B.C.
That the accomplishment took place at the end of the first year of JOP training is a feather in the cap for both the youth and their coaches. The Junior Olympic program trained a dozen archers this year and has enough coaches that it could double the number of students next season. Many of the competitors were involved in junior archery that draws 35 to 40 youngsters alternating Tuesdays at the KDFGC indoor range.
National-level coach Chuck Land, a KDFGC director, is ecstatic about the standings the juniors registered.
“It’s about how dedicated the coaches are. We want them to progress, but we also want them to have fun and enjoy it,” said Land. “This was our first year; our trial run. When people read how well these athletes have done, that will encourage more to join (JOP) in September.”
He says a large part of the success of the program in Kelowna is quality coaching. He is assisted by his wife, Dianne, a provincial-level coach and Barry Marciski and Colton Soetaert, experienced archers who hold Archery Canada certification.
He is looking forward to training more archers starting in September when the program, held Saturdays, 9-11 a.m., resumes at the club.
Regarding the Kelowna group’s placing province-wide, Land said: “They never heard of us, now we are at the top of the heap in their respective categories.”
Junior Olympic archery offers a number of different categories based upon the style of equipment used. Competitors shoot against people in their own target size and the targets get smaller as archers improve.
Accompanying competitors from the south Okanagan (Osoyoos and Penticton) to the Kelowna shoot were Ron Ostermeier, president of the B.C. Archery Association, and his wife Mary, JOP sport co-ordinator for the province.
Besides his placing with a first in the B.C.’s, Josiah Shonwise improved his rating to the 275 level from 250 out of a possible 300.
Shonwise, who started shooting on Tuesday nights 18 months ago, also has a national laurel. He took first place in Canada-wide regionals in the male compound bow category. Land said the young archer has a couple more levels to go, then can move into the senior categories, people 18 and over.
Ten shooters from the Kelowna JOP, by the way, placed no lower than in the top-five in Canada, at a national regional competition earlier in April.
Kelowna’s Levi Kelbert, another B.C. first-place winner, shoots a recurve bow, the kind used in the Olympics.
With his eyes firmly fixed on the possibility of training an Olympic competitor from Kelowna, Land says, “We’ll be encouraging him to go to higher levels.”
If you are interested in youth archery programs at the Kelowna Fish and Game Club, either JOP or in the junior program which starts students at about 10 years, contact either Chuck or Dianne firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about these and other programs appear on the club website at www.kdfgc.org.