In a tournament that welcomes archers up to age 20, there are bound to be some who have been there, done that.
Elizabeth Randle and Marcus Barclay would fit into that category.
The archers from New Zealand are no strangers to the World Archery Youth Championships), having between them five years of experience, but they both maintain the 2015 version in Yankton is their favorite.
Randle, a 19-year-old from Rotorua, New Zealand, is competing in her third WAYC, having shot previously in Poland (2011) and China (2013).
“The facilities here are a lot bigger than the other two,” she said Wednesday. “It’s harder competition, too.”
To that first point, archers from the 51 countries in Yankton this week have continually raved about the facilities – both indoor and outdoor – at the Easton Yankton Archery Complex.
To many, like the New Zealand archers, it’s a far cry from what they have back home.
“Obviously, we don’t have the facilities like this in New Zealand to be able to compete,” said Barclay, a 17-year-old shooter competing in his second WAYC.
Both Randle and Barclay hail from the same town and the same archery club, which has an outdoor range and a small indoor range, with 17-18 targets.
The New Zealand national tournaments will have between 50-60 targets, “if we’re lucky,” Barclay said.
That’s much different than Yankton’s complex which has nearly 100 targets – not counting those on the two practice ranges – over its two competition ranges. The Easton Complex also boasts an indoor 70-meter range and three field ranges.
“The numbers here are so big,” Barclay said.
That’s been a common goal for the local National Field Archery Association (NFAA) staff in Yankton: Think big.
The NFAA, led by president Bruce Cull, has annually hosted national and international tournaments in Yankton – as well as those hosted by the NFAA in locations such as Las Vegas and Louisville, Kentucky.
It’s experience like that which has helped put on a WAYC, according to New Zealand coach Robert Turner – who has prior coaching experience in the United States.
“Bruce and the NFAA have done high-profile events in the past, and that expertise really shows.” Turner said. “In the small details, you can really tell.”
And Turner knows first-hand what those details can mean for visitors. He is working with a team at his sixth consecutive WAYC.
“Everything is organized for us,” Turner said. “From the bus routes to the meals to everything else, we don’t have to stress.
“Those little details add up.”
On the idea of a town the size of Yankton (with 15,000 residents) hosting a WAYC, Randle said she could see both sides – the advantages and drawbacks.
“It has its pros and cons,” she said. “When you’re at a smaller town, there isn’t a big shopping center.
“But everyone here knows you, they wave at you and say hi to you when you walk in a shop.”
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