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International backing for our Commonwealth Games campaign!

January 25th 2018
Jane Percival

The battle to get archery included in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is hotting up – and it is creating opportunities for Archery GB to help develop the sport in other countries too.

Hilda Gibson, who is leading World Archery’s Commonwealth Working Group as part of the Games campaign, welcomed Ugandan athlete Sula Blick (pictured) to Lilleshall this week. The idea was to show him a world-class high performance environment in action so that he can take the ideas back to his homeland.

Sula, who is in the UK on business and has joined Cambridge Bowmen, has been shooting for three years. He said: “The sport is still very small in Uganda. We shoot at two venues, a primary school and Makerere University, both in the capital Kampala.  Clubs are connected with the military, police and so on.  We have 25-30 active archers in total.”

So is he backing the bid to get archery included in the Commonwealth Games? “Yes,” he said. “It would help to promote archery as a Commonwealth sport and would give each country – including mine – something to aim for.

“I am sure that Uganda would send a full team to the Games if it could. It depends on getting funding.”

The Ugandan Archery Federation is working hard to build the sport in the country and is aiming to send a representative to the 2020 Olympic Games. But one of the key limiting factors is the shortage of equipment so Sula received a second-hand bow from Hilda as a gesture of goodwill, ahead of providing more equipment in the future.

But if Ugandans – and the rest of the Commonwealth’s archers – are to make their mark at Birmingham 2022, the sport must first be included in the Games. That has not happened since New Delhi 2010.

World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen has already met Birmingham 2022 representatives to discuss the issue.

“We are excited to be in dialogue with Birmingham City Council about the inclusion of archery on the 2022 sport programme,” Hilda told insidethegames.

“We have recently put in place a three-year agreement for the Archery GB National Series Final to be held in Birmingham City Centre and, as a highly inclusive sport, we’re ambitious to help Birmingham put on a great Games reflecting the diversity of Birmingham and the Commonwealth.”

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