This was written by our team members Alexis Pastuch and Donald Barrie.
Seeing archery live for the first time was amazing. The athletes shoot from 70 meters and 50 meters away, depending on the type of competition. I cannot imagine how much focus it takes. The para athletes who are competing have amazing precision. It was great to see all of the athletes’ different abilities. The way that each individual have to adapt to the way they shoot boggles my mind.
I was really excited to see Kevin Evans of Canada. Watching him compete is very awe-inspiring. He is one of the top para-archers in the world. He has had to adapt from being able to use both arms, to only having one arm after an accident. In these Parapan Games, Evans faced Ben Thompson from the United States in a very exciting Bronze Medal Game. Unfortunately, Evans lost 141-138. He still made Canada proud!
When asked about the competition, here is what he answered:
“Our first half went well, then the wind picked up and it got a bit shaky; we’re not where we want to be. It would be nice to be on the podium,” he said. “‘I can’t’ is not in my vocabulary. I keep trying … I have learned patience.”
When asked who inspires him, here is what he answered:
“My father pushed us and didn’t like us sitting on the couch. He wanted us to enjoy life, he was an inspiration to me.”
On the ladies’ side was Karen Van Nest. She is known as one of the most versatile para-athletes. The 54-year-old has competed in many para competitions, first as a pistol shooter and now as an archer. In this years’ Parapan Am Gold Medal Game, Van Nest faced Jane Karla Gogel from Brazil. That match was also well contended. Van Nest won silver. She also made Canada proud.
When asked about how she felt winning the silver medal, here is what she said:
“I’m pretty happy. I’m glad I can go home with this beautiful medal. I’m glad to be able to show the kids at home this,” she said. “I’m proud of myself… I will go home and get back into training and win some more hardware. I will keep encouraging kids to get involved in sports and to help archery grow.”
She also encourages every parent who has a child with a disability to get involved in sports.
If you want to learn more about archery, the following links will be useful:
- Ontario Association of Archers (OAA) – You must join the OAA to compete in official archery events.
- Archers of Caledon – This is our regional competition venue. You can pre-register for events online.
- Archery Canada