Tuesday starts the European Para Championship in archery. Monday you could already dive into the sport. There were two blocks of official trainings that were open to watch as a supporter.
Behind the big black wall outside of Rotterdam Ahoy you can set your eyes on the trainings. This has two benefits. It is nice for the athletes, to train with a bit of an audience. As there will be an audience during the competition as well. Also, for the visitors of the European Para Championships it is a lot of fun. Not everyone is able to make it to Rotterdam every day during the Championships. In this way you can still get a sense of archery, when you cannot be there the rest of the week.
There are different categories within the Para Archery. Each category has some differences than the others. The size of the target can change, as well as the distance between the athlete and the target. Within the individual competitions, there are three categories. Next to that, there are categories for men’s teams, ladies’ teams, mixed teams and categories for athletes with a visual impairment. The athletes are allowed to use different types of assistive devices.
The stands are shining in the sunlight during the first official training. The spectators shift their gaze from the athletes to the targets and back. ‘’It is so imposing and impressive to see all the athletes with all their gear’’, says one of the spectators. She is at Rotterdam Ahoy with her husband. They came all the way from the south of The Netherlands. ‘’We could only make it this Monday, so now we are watching the trainings instead of the matches.’’ Her husband adds: ‘’It really doesn’t matter if you see a match or a training.’’ The trainings are top tier as well. The only disadvantage is that, as a spectator, you are a little far from the archery, he explains. ‘’I would give spectators of tonight the tip to bring your binoculars. Then you can see even more’’, he chuckles. ‘’Jokes aside, it is amazing to see the passion of the athletes and it definitely worth coming here.’’
The matches are, just likte the official trainings of Para Archery, outside Rotterdam Ahoy. The matches start tomorrow. From Saturday on, the Para Archery will move to Kop van Zuid. The archery program is full: starting tomorrow, there will be matches everyday almost the whole day.