For the first time in more than a decade, Australia is set to compete in archery at a Paralympic Games.
The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) today announced Mulgoa local Jonathon Milne had earned selection on the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, becoming the first Australian to qualify for the Paralympic sport since Athens 2004.
Milne, who placed fourth in the compound bow open classification at the 2015 World Archer Para Championships, has experienced a whirlwind of a sporting career since taking up the sport in 2014, after acquiring a spinal cord injury just two and a half years earlier.
Having dabbled in the target sport as a teenager, the Paralympic debutant rediscovered his love for archery while enjoying the challenge of mastering the art of his sport as a wheelchair user.
To now become the highest ranked Australian athlete in his class means everything to Milne.
“I feel honoured that I get to represent Australia in the Paralympic Games, and to be the only Australian archer on the Team is an amazing feeling,” he said.
“Rio is an opportunity to test yourself and shoot with the best athletes in the world. There isn’t a big competition in Para-archery in Australia, and after placing fourth at the Worlds last year, I know I’m more than capable of competing against the best archers with similar disabilities to myself.
“My goal in Rio is to shoot my best and to continue to improve with every shot, I never go into a completion expecting to reach the podium, but with the whole country watching, I really do hope to make Australia proud.”
Archery has featured at every Paralympic Games since the first in Rome 1960, and Australia has won 15 Paralympic medals in the sport including three gold, nine silver and three bronze.
Having not won a Paralympic medal in archery since the New York/Stoke Mandeville Games in 1984, Kate McLoughlin, Chef de Mission of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, hopes Milne can break this drought and bring his sport into a new era.
“We’re so excited that Jonathon has earned his selection on the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, it’s a great boost for the sport of archery” McLoughlin said.
“Australia has a very small pool of Para-archery athletes, so to have Jonathon rise to Paralympic level is a huge testament to his dedication to sport and his drive to succeed.
“I am not only looking forward to seeing Jonathon aim for bullseye at the Sambodromo arena in Rio, but to see him help revive a Paralympic sport in which Australia has outstanding results during the earlier years of the movement.”
Paralympic archery has three different classifications and is comprised of individual and team events in both standing and wheelchair competitions. Athletes shoot from a distance at a target marked with 10 scoring zones.
Athletes compete with both recurve bows – distinctive as the limbs curve outwards at the top – and compound bows, which feature mechanical pulleys, telescopic sights and release aids to assist in accuracy. Men and women come
The Rio Paralympic Games will take place from 7 September through to 18 September, 2016.
To read more about Jonathon Milne, click here.
By APC Media