Modern competitive archery is a favorite pastime for many people, particularly students, because it allows them to participate in tournaments, relieve stress and help them find their passions.This year’s paramount Outdoor Nationals Tournament took place in the small town of Decatur, Alabama, drawing over a thousand archers from all across the nation and even a few from international countries.
The tournament was held from July 13th to July 17th at the Jack Allen Sports Complex, where youth archers participated in the Easton JOAD Nationals segment of the US Outdoor Nationals Championship. Archers were tasked to shoot a 1440 qualification round of 144 arrows, and to participate in the elimination rounds if they made the rank 64 cut. Severe thunderstorms and the scorching humidity of the South made this process anything but effortless, and in the case of a lightning delay, archers patiently waited in their cars, trying to maintain their competitive mindsets.
Diana Kim, who competed in the recurve junior women category, admits that overcoming the weather challenges was nerve wracking — but through overcoming those challenges, she emerged as a stronger archer.
“I think the most difficult part of the tournament was probably knowing that it was the most important tournament of the year, and the fact that the weather caused delays. To get past these challenges, I just tried not to think about score and focused more on my shot process. My goal this year is to make the United States Archery Team, and this tournament helped me figure out what I need to focus on,” says Kim in an interview with JSR.
Audrey Hong, bronze medallist in the recurve junior women category, says Outdoor Nationals was another great tournament that helped her gain confidence to pursue her endeavors in professional archery.
“I practiced every day for an average of two to five hours. This year, I am moving out to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, San Diego to train with the best coaches and to help me reach my goal of making the Olympic team for the Tokyo 2020 games,” Hong affirms in an interview with JSR.
Despite the challenges created by rough weather and the stress of competing in a national-ranking tournament, participants of the 132nd National Outdoor Championships say the tournament was an unforgettable experience. Through their dedication to the sport of archery, archers can cultivate their passions and discover personal goals.