Bull’s-eye: Blind sport continues to grow as visually-impaired try archery in Southfields

Around a dozen people with visual impairments came together at Southfields Aspire Centre on Sunday to practise archery.

Large targets lined the walls of the centre’s sports hall and after a quick warm-up session the archers picked up their bows and got ready to shoot.

Colourful balloons were attached to the bull’s-eye of each target that let the athletes know with an echoing pop that they had landed the perfect shot.

Trying out the sport for the first time, visually-impaired archer Claire Amoroso, said: “It’s really good exercise, my left arm hurts already so I guess that’s good.”

With only some vision in her left eye and none at all in her right, it hasn’t always been easy to participate in sporting activities.

She said: “School sport was very difficult so it’s good that now I am an adult I can find other sporting opportunities and have fun as well.”

Visually-impaired archers are assigned a sighted assistant, a spotter, who gives them instructions and describes with the clock method where the arrows have hit the target.

Those who can’t make out the target align with it by touching a tactile sight mounted on a tripod with the back of their hand.

The archery course is run by Metro Blind Sport, a sports and social club for the blind and partially-sighted, operating across the capital.

Visually-impaired archer Jennifer Carpenter said: “When I lost my sight you don’t for a minute think you can take part in any kind of sport, and then you meet these visually impaired people giving it a go.

“The social element is fantastic as well,” she added, revealing they had all gone dancing the night before.

The archery sessions take place every second Sunday of the month at the Aspire Centre in Southfields.

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