HOW DID I GET INTO ARCHERY ?
In 2003 I was rather overweight unfit adult with a very sedentary lifestyle .
New Years Eve 2004 I decided to Change my lifestyle, and to cut a long story short decided to run the London Marathon that year.
On the 18th April 2004, after lining up for the Start at Shooters Hill, I finished in 5 hours 36 mins after having only 3 months to train for the marathon.
It was a great feeling to get that finishers Medal when I crossed that finishing line.
I then was hit by the Running Bug and continued to run marathons world wide to raise funds for various charities, completing over 400 up to 2012;
However not being satisfied just to run.
In 2005 I started to Run dressed as A Dragon (I was born in the year of the Dragon)!
I was suddenly being called "The Marathon Dragon" in the USA and UK, The name I continue to use for promotion which I actually Copyrighted in 2005.
Hence I am still nicknamed "The Dragon"
In 2012 three quarters of the way through my (Year of the Dragon Challenge)
A Serious Accident Occurred and as a Result I ended up being told I would not run again and would not be able to walk without a stick in future and worst scenario would be in a wheelchair. My new healthy lifestyle and the joy of Running had suddenly been taken away from me!
For 4 years I was in in a very depressed state, until a Paralympian Friend reminded me of what she had said years ago. "Graham, I am not Disabled! Just Slightly More Physically Challenged thats all!"
That Kick Started me !
In 2016 there was a 'I AM TEAM GB' Archery Day at Overton Black Arrows in Hampshire. this was the closest to me and over an Hours drive away.
However I rang up to make enquiries and went up to Try My hand at Archery!
I was in a wheelchair and It was an amazing day.
I had My Assistance Dog Tyler with me, the wheelchair made no difference and I shot arrows alongside able bodied people who had come along to have a go, the Coaches were so helpfull and instructive and as a result of their encouragement I have now taken up the sport and travel around competing in Local and National Tournaments.
Just before Covid hit another Accident Snapped a tendon in my bow arm, due to the restrictions I had to wait 8 months for an operation and have just managed to start shooting again albeit very carefully however next year after COVID I plan on entering some International Tournaments as well as National.
Archery is a naturally socially distanced sport so is a very ‘Covid safe’ activity and has the benefit of helping to benefit Mental as well as Physical Health.
On a personal level it is a sport that has enabled me to get my life back in order which gives me the same Buzz I got when I was running Marathons
There are no restrictions on how far you can go within the Sport of Archery from age of 8 to 108
Being Disabled is not a Barrier and should never be to achieving your dreams! whether it is in sport or any part of your life:
“Believe that you can and you are halfway there” !
My Archery Club is AC Delco Bowmen at Highbridge Farm. Highbridge Road, Eastleigh. HAMPSHIRE.
We Have Coaches from Level One right through to County Level Coaches and have had several archers represent the UK from the Club in the past.
It Is Totally Disabled Friendly and we have several Disabled Archers as well as Myself.
On The 14th August We are having the "I AM TEAM GB " Day at our club ground at Highbridge Farm, Colden Common, Eastleigh SO50 6HN.
Team Toyota will be there, along with some Special Guests, Food will be available and a there will be a Grand Prize Raffle for Charity with some Great Prizes
Its a free event and it will be the Anniversary of when I took up Archery 5 years ago and I would like to invite everyone,
Especially any one who is Disabled or feeling that the Pandemic has taken a toll on their mental health to come along, join myself, my assistance dog Tyler and all my my fellow archers and have a go at being Robin Hood, Hawkeye or “The Arrow” anytime from 12-30 till 5pm on the 14th August at AC DELCO BOWMEN ARCHERY CLUB at Eastlegh.
Hopefully you will find yourself enjoying the Sport as much as I do::
See You There on the shooting line
aka The Dragon