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Back to archery with Euan O’Connor

April 15th 2021
Sophie Meering

Izzy Carpenter had the privilege of interviewing Euan O’Connor about his return back to archery. Euan is a visually impaired archer for five years.

Euan O’Connor is from Pennine Archers and has got back to archery! Euan is a visually impaired archer who has been shooting for five years. At only 13 years old, that’s pretty impressive!

Izzy Carpenter had the chance to interview Euan about his return to shooting.

Euan O’Connor VI Archer

Euan O’Connor

What have you missed most about archery?

I’ve missed the people mostly. Especially at my club, Pennine Archers. The social aspect is important for me as well as trying to beat my personal bests, and travelling for competitions. We had lots of competitions planned for last summer and I was really looking forward to them, but then everything just ended abruptly. I’ve also missed the cake at competitions.

What was it like getting back to archery?

We had our first outdoor session at the range last Sunday since lockdown restrictions eased. It was lovely to see people, but all the social distancing restrictions make it less enjoyable for me.

Always having to remember you can’t get close to people who are your friends and having to stay within the roped areas for your target. I know we have to do that to stay healthy, but I find it quite sad.

I also suffered for not exercising as I should have during lockdown. Lots of aches on the Monday morning after.

How have you found things since not being able to do archery?

I have found it boring mostly. I go to school or do schoolwork online, and then there’s nothing to do or I can’t go anywhere on a weekend. Then it’s back to schoolwork again. So very monotonous and dull.

What is it like to do archery being visually impaired?

I’m a VI archer, but I still shoot in my age category with everyone else. I use a foot marker mat and my mum spots my arrows.

Doing archery whilst visually impaired has helped show me that I can still achieve. It’s not something that I have to view as a negative. Although I use a foot marker mat as I can’t see the line and I need someone to spot arrows for me, I can do everything else myself.

I wish I could see the arrows I’ve shot, but this is the next best thing. I sometimes wonder if I’d be better if I could see like everyone else. However, that won’t ever be the case.

I’m happy that I can compete with able bodied archers and overcome my disability. It used to frustrate me, but now I don’t see it as something that holds me back. There’s no reason I can’t continue to shoot well and keep getting better.

How does archery normally fit into your daily life/routine?

I’ve been doing archery for five years now. Every Sunday I shoot at Pennine Archers. It’s something I look forward to doing during the week. When competitions are on its something I do over an entire weekend. I’ve found I’ve really missed it this past year.

How does archery help you day to day that you’ve missed during COVID?

It’s mostly missed the social aspect, the friendships, and being able to talk to people who understand archery face to face. Our club is like a family, so not being able to see them has been difficult.

In terms of your mental health/well-being, what sort of effect has no archery had on you?

I’ve felt sad and down like I’ve missed some of the purpose in my life. Archery is a big part of my life and seeing my bow bag and not being able to grab it and go has been hard. I’ve not even had my bow together until last Sunday.

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