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Date Released: Tue, 20 August 2013 14:45 +0200

by Dave Martin

Having never judged a field archery competition in my life, it was a shock when the World Archery Judges Committee allocated me a position as a judge at the World Field Archery Championships in Val d’Isere, France.

I left South Africa on 10 August 2012 and I must say the trip was quite fantastic, well……er barring glitches at French Customs. Upon my arrival in Val d’Isere I met up with other judges from Israel, Australia, Canada, Korea, America, French Polynesian Islands, Germany, Netherlands, Croatia, and India. As international judges we are required to have full command of English language, thank goodness.

Following all the pre competition checks, I was to judge on one of the steepest and roughest ranges around. Needless to say I was exhausted at the end of two days of checks and set up - not to mention the blisters on my feet. Next time I will know to buy proper mountain boots.

I was treated to some fantastic archery skills such as shooting up and down hills at unknown distances. It was just great to watch the world class archers displaying their skills.

The first great moment and honour came when I was appointed to judge the women’s bronze final. The event ran smoothly and I only had to make one line call decision, #sigh#.

The greatest moment then came during a gold medal match between America and Slovenia. The Chairman of the judges turned to me and said “Dave this is your match”, my legs turned to jelly but it was a proud moment as I led the 2 men out onto the range with French TV crews and cameras all around us. I killed my nerves by introducing the archers to the crowd and blew my whistle to signal that we are about to begin. America won by one point.

 I would like to thank Rhodes University Sports Administration for funding without which I would not have been able to travel – would have probably missed this opportunity of a lifetime.

I have since heard from the World Archery Judges Committee that I have again been called to duty in November 2013, this time I am to be a judge at the World Paraplegic Archery Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. I am looking forward to this new experience and have been told by other international judges that I will be both astounded and humbled by the Paraplegic archers and their ability to shoot a bow.

Now it’s time to practice my Thai (Sawadekaa = hello)