South Africa’s archers were on target at the World Bowhunter Championships in Hungary this weekend, raking in a number of medals and a new world champion in 15-year-old Natacha Kroon, who competed in the junior female freestyle unlimited event.
More than 1600 archers converged on Godollo in Hungary to compete in the International Field Archery Association.
South Africa raked up a number of medals.
Gold medals were won by Werdie van Staden (in the adult male freestyle unlimited category) and Johan Human (adult male bowhunter unlimited). South Africa was awarded another gold medal courtesy of Hano Eveleigh, after the results in the junior male bowhunter unlimited shooting style were contested.
Marietjie Harmse (adult female bowhunter unlimited) and Stefan van der Linde (veteran male freestyle unlimited) won silver medals.
Johan du Preez (veteran male freestyle unlimited) earned a bronze medal.
South Africa also obtained medals in the team style competition, winning bronze in the bowhunter unlimited division by Johan Human, Hennie van Staden and Hennie Kruger.
Werdie van Staden, Stefan van der Linde and HJ Swanepoel won bronze in the freestyle unlimited division.
It was the first international archery tournament for Kroon, who hails from East London. She participated in the junior female freestyle unlimited shooting style, which takes place over a period of five days.
Going into the final day of the World Championships, Kroon was leading the division with 138 points. She finished the tournament with 300 points more than her competitors and secured the gold medal for South Africa.
So what is next for this young athlete?
“Firstly, catching up with academics and then start preparing for the 2016 World Field Archery Championships in Australia,” said Kroon, shortly after her win.
In more good news for the sport, the World Archery Federation recently announced that South Africa had secured a slot at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, after a sterling performance at the Donaueschingen 2015 World Archery Para Championships.
The international body said: “A well-earned victory over sixth seed Martin Imboden, from Switzerland, put 27-ranked qualifier Stephanus Lombaard into the last 16 of the compound men’s open competition and with a Paralympic quota position in the bag.”
The slot earned by Lombaard means that the decision as to whether South Africa will compete, and who will compete, lies with South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.