A taste of Argentina
Shooting the worlds in Buenos Aries
Written for Magazine publications in 2009 by Peter Bourke
Since 2007 in Mannheim Germany when Steve Kendrick Vice President of the International Field Archery Association invited all archers to attend the next world Indoor Archery Championships in Buenos Aries Argentina, that name has reverberated through our thoughts, Buenos Aries.
We had seen documentaries and news items concerning Argentina many times through the years but absorbing little in the process now it was time to do some research as come hell or high water we intended shooting in the 2009 WIAC. First up travel times from home 20 hours going and 22 hours returning (actually the return trip blew out to 47 hours) add in a couple of days for jetlag and sight seeing 4 days for the competition and we came up with 8 days in total (this blew out to 22 days of excitement).
As soon as we could we pre registered with the AATA (“Asociación Argentina de Tiradores con Arco”) and were put in contact Pablo Marbec (WIAC 2009 Secretary) who handled our nominations and kept us informed during the lead up to the WIAC. The AATA arranged for Karina Bluhm Travel consultant for E-TS Travel Solutions to assist us in planning our trip. Karina worked wonders for us on our travel plans saving us thousands and getting us to places we had never dreamt of going and will never forget. If this article sounds like a travel brochure, that is my intention as I hope to see many of you at the 2012 World Field Archery Championships to be held in Argentina. When we finished the shoot the venue for the 2012 WFAC had not been selected but from what we have seen of this country and its people it will be a very challenging Field shoot indeed and run very professionally.
A couple of days before the shoot the English National team arrived at our hotel the Savoy, all of whom Heather and I new from previous World shoots, so the lead up to the WIAC included a little more local wine and excitement than should be considered optimal for the lead up to a major comp.
The first day of the WIAC was registration official practice and the opening ceremony, as with all Major international competitions the first day is a very stressful one for all concerned with the organizational side, everything was handled well by the Argentinean officials allowing the competitors to get on with what they were there for (to shoot). With archery being the great social sport that it is this is also the time we get to meet up with old friends and adversaries from around the world to swap info and catch up on news of other events and archers. This shoot was no exception with Teco Phillips from the US, Mike and Linda Lainchbury from New Zealand to name just a few we have spent time with during previous International competitions.
The opening ceremony was held in true Argentinean style with local wines and plenty of food, to the beat of the tango, this theme carried on through the night with spectacular exhibitions of Tango dancing that left the audience in rapture. The late nights of Buenos Aries took there toll on many of us as it is normal to have your evening meal after 10Pm in Argentina, for us older folk who were used to being in bed by that time it was difficult to get used to.
Day one of competition brings home all the excitement and anticipation built up through the last few months of preparation. The lighting in the venue was quite good with very little difference between individual targets so the changing of shoot groups and targets from day to day had very little effect on our shooting. Each round took an exceptionally long time to get through up to 5 hours per round, as a shooter I found it a bit sapping on the second day when the temp in the hall climbed through the afternoon. Day two in my group delivered near disaster for my adversary Steve Kendrick, it started with me clumsily kicking Steve’s bow stabiliser after the last arrow his bow fell but was saved from hitting the ground hard, this turned out to be a lucky incident as during his close examination of the bow he discovered that his bottom cable was all but off, hanging by just 2 strands. As is normal panic set in with 60 arrows to go this would never last the shoot and no time to build a cable and tune the bow. With a bit of international assistance all was not lost as an Argentinean archer came up with a portable bow press and Steve used me as a portable work bench (at least I now know that I am useful for something) we were able to get his bow shooting on the spot again for day three.
Day three brought milder temperatures, but no less anxiety as many archers had never competed at this level before and found it very exhausting to say the least. I have had people ask me how it could be exhausting just shooting 60 arrows in 5 hours, well I don’t really know but it is none the less. It must be a culmination of all the training, planning and hard work that it takes to just get to these competitions because it never changes that by the last day you can see it in the faces of the competitors. However when that last arrow finds its mark all that changes the venue is full of laughter and chatter, some archers giggling with exhilaration from a hard fought win others just glad that all that mental and physical work is over. For me it was a case of exhilaration, relief and straight out excitement as this is the first World Championships I have won, to work so long and hard toward something and then to finally achieve your goals mere words can not describe how I felt. My excitement was two fold as my dear wife Heather had also won Gold, so for a Husband and wife team to both become World Champions at the same championships the chances were slim indeed and well worth celebrating. As it happened there was a second couple from down under claiming gold with Mike and Linda Lainchbury from New Zealand also becoming World Champions in their divisions.
The Unlimited division shoot off was very exciting with our friend Linda Lainchbury taking out the Female Unlimited and Rodriguez Fernando taking out the Male Freestyle Unlimited.
At this point I would like to thank our sponsors as these wins were made possible not only through our own hard work but through the technology of our equipment. Our bows are designed and made by Dave Barnsdale of Barnsdale Archery, Heathers shoots a Classic X at 42” axle to axle with Tristar wheels and I shoot an Ultimate X 42” ATA with Wedel Cams, when Dave says they are more forgiving than your Mama he is not joking. Our sights are by Shibuya and they are just magic, so smooth and accurate when combined with Ontarget2 software for archers sight tapes you just cant go wrong. Heather uses a Trophy Taker drop away rest and I use the Trophy Taker one hole Spring Steel Blade and Tru Ball ST4 release, our optics are by Vortex Optics simply the best you can buy, and when you are in close competition you need the best. One new piece of kit we both use is compression ware by 2XU supplied by Rhys Aizlewood of Xme-Archery these make all the difference when it comes to Reducing fatigue levels and speeding up recovery after shot recovery.
With the hard work done then comes the Banquet and medal ceremony plus a little bit of partying, now keep in mid that we are in Argentina where people like to really celebrate. The banquet venue was a short stroll through the sports fields and marinas; this gave us a breath of fresh air to set us up for the couple of hours at the banquet before a well earned sleep for us old timers at least that was our plan based on previous WIAC banquets. Now don’t forget this is Buenos Aries we arrive at 8.30Pm then feasted and partied through the night with the presentations flowing through till 3.30Am the next morning, yes it was a long time but this is how it is done in this great southern land. With three table loads of medals to be presented for the Argentinean Nationals, South American Championships and the World Indoor Championships the entire proceedings went as smooth as clockwork with local wines, beautiful food and excellent entertainment by a local singer it truly was a night to remember and the culmination of a World Indoor Championships to live in our memories forever.
For Heather and me this was just the start of our Argentinean journey, Karina Bluhm had designed a tour to suit our budget and time perfectly with our first stop being El Calafate a small town in southern Patagonia nearly at the end of the earth. You quickly forget about the freezing winds swept up from the Antarctic as you cruse Lake Argentino among massive ice bergs on the approaches to some of the largest Glaciers on earth flowing between towering peaks of the magnificent Andes Mountains. We then headed north to Bariloche still in the Andes with beautiful lakes and scenic drives through ancient forests. Our last point of call was Argentina’s northern boarder with Brazil for the world famous Iguazu Falls, going from minus 7 degrees C (20F)at El Calafate to 42C (42F) at the falls was to say the least a shock to our systems but well worth doing. From the thundering roar that vibrates through your body to the thousands of swifts diving through the cataracts it is a spectacle not to be missed, and one to be remembered for a lifetime.
From the Australian team a big Mucho Gracious to all our new friends in South America.
So start planning now for the IFAA 2012 World Field Archery Championships in Argentina as it will be a competition not to be missed. In the next few weeks I hope to have more info for you concerning the proposed locations for 2012 so till then shoot well and enjoy all this wonderful sport has to offer.
Principal Coach for www.archeryfix.com