Bullseye! Rio youngsters take a bow!
As Rio de Janeiro geared up for the official archery test event at the city’s world-famous Sambódromo, kids from a local neighbourhood were given a marvellous opportunity to try the sport out for themselves, with the help of a quartet of professional archers.
With the Aquece Rio archery test event due taking place at Rio’s Sambódromo on 15-22 September, the local organising committee for the 2016 Games teamed up with the French Consulate to give a group of 50 children in the nearby Complexo São Carlos favela, the chance to get a real feel for the sport.
Helping to run the workshops were three Brazilian professional archers– Rio 2016 hopeful Fábio Emílio and his father, Renato Emílio - the four-time Olympian - and Suzui Mattei. They were joined by French-Brazilian para-archer Patricia Layolle.
After three hours of being shown the basics of the sport, the kids got to take part in a friendly competition, with the five best archers receiving cuddly versions of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games mascot, Tom.
The event was, by general consensus, a roaring success. Twelve-year-old Lucas Castro, one of the five winners, said: “I’d never done archery before, but I liked it a lot and it was a great feeling to hit the bull’s eye.”
It was also a learning curve for the professionals. “I’ve never given a lesson to so many kids at the same time,” enthused Fábio Emílio. “It’s been a lot of fun, they even chanted my name. Archery helps children to develop, in terms of education and finding their direction in life. It can only be good for them.”
And the fun didn’t stop there. Rio 2016 organisers also invited 160 youngsters from the favela to attend the actual test event at the Sambódromo, which is the hub of festivities during the world-famous Rio Carnival. During the event they will have a chance to see some of the world’s best archers in action, including no less than 11 Olympic medallists from London 2012.
The Rio test event will offer further opportunities for teams and individuals to seal their qualification for next year’s Games, after the first 22 countries confirmed their berths at the World Championships in Copenhagen (DEN) in July.
Archery, which can trace its roots back to ancient times, made its first appearance on the Olympic programme back in 1900. After a brief absence in 1912, it was then omitted from the programme for almost 50 years between 1924 and 1972, but has been a regular fixture since then.