Postcard from Poland 2014

Recurves George Harding (Nottingham), Ashe Morgan (Birmingham) and Kieran Slater (Leicester) plus compounds Jordan Mitchell (Ulster), Thomas Taylor (Coventry), Erin Prior (Coventry), Hope Greenwood (Edinburgh) and Amyce Aurora-Smith (Bath) are in Poland on World Uni Archery Champs duty for GB. Amyce Aurora-Smith very kindly wrote a postcard for UKSAA on the experience.

10th World Uni Archery Champs in Legnica, Poland, July 2014

Postcard from Poland

After a fairly uneventful journey (2 planes and coach ride) we arrived at the hotel on Monday evening... the majority of the bows did not however! Due to a rather small plane for our local polish flight (which was trying to accommodate us, the French, Chinese Taipei and some confused locals) only 3 sets of kit got on the plane with us; however they were delivered bright and early the next morning just in time for unofficial practice.

Unofficial practice (Tuesday) took place next to the stadium on an artificial grass pitch - turns out that heat + artificial grass + touching anything metal = static electricity shocks. Kind of hard to pick up a bow without touching anything metal as it turns out, ouch! Had our first try on the academic round hit-miss faces (for the team events) - on the compound faces the gold is a little bit bigger than the 10 ring - tricky but good fun to shoot. Rest of the day was spent looking for masking tape as our shirts had been provided by BUCS with no names on them (as required per WA rules) - as it turns out masking tape is impossible to come by in Legnica! So an alternative solution was found in the form of cut up hotel place mats. Stay classy GB ;)

The next day (Wednesday) we had official practice in the stadium (mostly spent resisting the temptation to shoot the large balloons positioned behind the targets) with the opening ceremony in the afternoon; the opening ceremony consisted of strangely/skimpily dressed polish children parading around Legnica while we followed behind with flags with occasional traditional ethnic dancing stopping the procession... bizarre but fun! The day was rounded off with taking some team pictures on the steps of a Legnica church - turns out getting an entire Archery team to jump at the same time is difficult (!) - and watching rather jealously as the USA team stormed an ice cream shop.

Qualification day (Thursday) - thus begins the battle with the new tablet-based ianseo system... keeping them connected to the Wifi system proves difficult, it seemed that every time we touched the tablets they stopped working. Oops! We survive qualification and the increasing temperatures with some good scores on the board - the highlights being Jordan's 7th place rank and the recurve team of Ashe, Kieran and George showing a strong team dynamic as they finished within 1 point of each other. The afternoon let us see the compound mixed team of Jordan and Hope stretch their legs (this is where the academic round comes in) - after a great first round match in which the saw off Chinese Taipei they come up against the Russians (ranked second). This match proves trickier (not surprising given that the winner of the 2014 Antalya World cup leg Natalia Avdeeva is on the Russian team) - however GB put up a good fight and the Russians only just scrape through by a point!

Eliminations day (Friday) - the majority of the team reached the individual 1/16ths with the star performance being Hope reaching the 1/8ths and only narrowly losing to a 6th ranked Mexican archer in a match that came down to the last end; however the most exciting action came from the male compounds, with Tom Taylor having to deal with a Ukrainian archer in his first match that decided to shoot 4 arrows (hoping no one would notice) and Jordan only going out after an extremely close shoot off that required some very precise measuring! The male recurve team pulled out all the stops in the afternoon to end up in the bronze medal match against Korea; after trailing to begin with the boys took the Koreans to a shoot off and stormed through to win the bronze medal. The day was rounded off by going out to dinner with the USA team to celebrate the 4th of July... went surprisingly well ;)

Saturday (finals and medal presentations) let us relax and prepare for home after a long week. A big thanks to everyone that made this happen and supported from home, and to Alistair Whittingham and Lloyd Brown for keeping us in check and organised; it was a great opportunity and I sincerely hope we continue to send full teams to these events. Thanks everyone!

Wish you were (t)here