UK Sport’s International Relations team has been supporting Archery GB’s work promoting and growing para archery across African nations, using the power of sport to inspire positive change.
Working in partnership with World Archery, World Archery Europe and the European Union’s Erasmus programme, the aim of the project is to develop African para archery across the three key pillars of coaching, judging and competition performance in order to widen participation in para archery across the continent.
The project has included a judging seminar in Uganda in April 2022 followed, for the top three candidates, by judge observation at the European Para Archery Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic in July. There have also been e-learning programmes to up-skill archery coaches and a coaching seminar in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in September which was attended by 11 coaches representing 7 African nations.
With a focus on increasing the number of para archery coaches across African nations, one of the high points of the programme came earlier in November with coaches from the seminar in Nairobi travelling to the UK to gain experience working with the GB para programme, hosted by Archery GB at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall.
Only one African nation – South Africa – sent para archery athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, so this project is vital to increasing capacity in African nations to deliver para archery programmes and improve access to the sport with the aim of increasing representation in future international competitions and Paralympic Games.
Hilda Gibson, Archery GB's International Relations Manager, said: "This project, together with earlier international partnership projects, has now trained a total of 56 para archery coaches and 7 judges across 15 countries.
"We can now see people with a disability being welcomed into archery in many of these countries. Four countries (in addition to South Africa) have multiple coaches trained and an active programme to develop para archery as part of their forward strategy. The joy of both archer and coach when the first arrow is shot and hits the target is infectious and wonderful to be part of."
Paul Evans, UK Sport's International Relations Advisor, said: "Para archery is one of the most inclusive sports in the world and many people who cannot take part in other sports can do para archery. At its heart, this is a sport grounded in a can-do attitude and a spirit of inclusivity.
"That is why it is so inspiring to be part of this project to train up the first para-coaches in African nations and help grow the sport across the continent.
"This project is a great example of the power of international partnership projects to inspire change, increase access to sport and use the UK’s leadership role, expertise and experience to share best practice and build relationships between nations around the world."