On the 12-13th July, Afan Nedd Archers hosted the UK and Ireland Field Archery Championships (UKIFAC) on behalf of the Welsh Field Archery Association (WFAA).
Whilst the club is relatively small, its members have a wealth of experience having been involved in hosting several Welsh UKIFACs as well as international IFAA Field tournaments.
The clubs’ home grounds were used as the venue for the Championships. The clubs’ permanent woodland range was supplemented with field ranges specifically built for UKIFAC.
All those in attendance acknowledged the tremendous amount of work which had gone into the setting out the ranges. The new field ranges, in particular, provided exceptional views over the surrounding countryside and distant towns.
It was a delight to see such a strong contingent from Ireland travel to UKIFAC 2019. With an attendance of 42 competitors it was one of the highest turn-outs for a UKIFAC held outside of the island of Ireland.
The Championships were made all the more special by the warm welcome and friendly atmosphere at Afan Nedd Archers. Warm and genuine greetings were extended to returning friends and newly made ones. For those who were canny enough to book dinner the local pub next to the venue they had an extra opportunity to catch-up with friends from the different nations.
Cub archers are either assigned to groups of their own, where a ‘minder’ from the host club is appointed to ensure their general well-being and safety or they are placed into the same group as their parents, or an appointed guardian, for the duration of the competition.
At UKIFAC, it is normal for target groups to be mixed gender and division (age and bow-style) on the first day of the competition. On the second day, archers shoot head-to-head, which means they are grouped together based to their division and relative scores.
Junior archers shoot in target groups of their own. It is a great opportunity for younger participants to get to meet and socialise with archers of similar age and who often shoot the same bow-style.
Friendships made at UKIFAC can be rekindled each and every year.
One of the best aspects of the IFAA’s Field rounds is their ability to reward archers of varying skill levels.
Whilst the Classification system does not cover all ages, or bow-styles, it does recognise achievement which is particularly helpful – and encouraging – to archers new to this discipline as well as experienced shooters as they push themselves to attain the next level.
Field and Hunter rounds are difficult to shoot. Archers must be bow-fit and able to shoot 112 arrows consistently each day… all scores are hard won!
The UKIFAC 2019 tournament was a first-time event for several IFAF members in attendance.
It is to their credit that not only did they shoot well, putting in good scores to benchmark future UKIFACs, but they also held their own against much more experienced archers who are seasoned attendees of this annual competition.
Our archers, whose demographic covered multiple age divisions and bow-styles, did themselves, their clubs, their peers and IFAF proud.
The Individual results clearly show the level of proficiency within the ranks and the success of IFAF members when compared to their peers from the other UKIFAC nations.
Summary of Medals:
• Champion (Gold): 11
• Silver: 8
• Bronze: 5
• 1st B: 1
• 1st C: 5
For UKIFAC 2019, competitors were asked to select the best archers from each style category to make-up the team. This proved interesting as entrants naturally deferred to one another or pitted themselves against each other at training sessions.
Pre-event practice really did help with brushing-up on skills, field craft, tournament rules and getting comfortable with double-detail shooting. As the team results show, this was IFAF’s best performance since 2017, in Northern Ireland, where we came second in the Champion of Nations sub-competition.
Special thanks and a nod of gratitude deservedly goes out to each of those members who put their names forward and ultimately represented IFAF.
Having your individual scores counted towards the success of the team can put unexpected pressure on you during the competition – as if trying to do your best for yourself isn’t enough pressure! – but it can also keep you focused when things go awry and get you back on track… Remember this when the UKIFAC 2020 Team call-up comes!