Archery proving popular with Wandsworth school children


A new archery initiative is targeting Wandsworth school pupils in a bid to develop the sport at grassroots level.

By Alex Christian, Alfie Godden and Max Thompson

A new archery initiative is targeting Wandsworth school pupils in a bid to develop the sport at grassroots level.

The Arrows Scheme, started by Archery GB in September, aims to encourage children to join their local range following a post-Olympics surge in the sport’s popularity.

Southfields Academy signed up to the scheme in September, with the school now providing weekly two-hour sessions for pupils after school at their Aspire Centre.

An Aspire Centre spokesperson said although sessions are non-compulsory many schoolchildren are taking part, with all profits made from the scheme going back to the school to improve its facilities.

A Southfields Academy PE teacher said: “It started off just adults doing it but now there are a lot of students there as well, so it’s mixed.

“It’s a specialist sport so you need specialist people to come in and teach it – we have a teacher here who used to do it at his old school, he brought it here and it’s taken off since then.”

The scheme was created to introduce young children to archery in a fun and safe way, designed to be delivered by teachers without formal archery experience.

Archery GB hope that once young people experience archery games at school through Arrows, they will be encouraged to try the traditional sport of archery.

The National School and Young Development Coordinator at Archery GB, Kate Moss, said: “The arrow scheme has had a very strong impact, especially on young children in London.

“We’ve seen an increasing amount of parents bringing their children to events around the country, particularly in counties rather than the city.”

Archery GB are hoping the scheme could lead to a competitive format nationwide in the future through the Sainsbury’s School Games.

Ms Moss added: “Children are the next generation of archers, and we want to nurse the talents in or out of the city.”

The popularity of archery has led to it becoming number five in this year’s top trending sports in Google’s annual zeitgeist report – ahead of the 100-metre sprint, gymnastics, cycling and swimming.

Archery GB chairman Dave Harrison said: “The number of people discovering archery puts us in a great position as we move into 2013 and I am very excited about the future.”

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