Archers target cash prize fund at Telford show
The European Archery Festival is the largest event of its kind – and this year it's come to Shropshire.
More than 1,000 archers have travelled to the county from 40 countries across five continents for the three-day competition and trade show, which is taking place at the Telford International Centre.
Those taking part are hoping to share prize money worth £20,000 when the finals take place tomorrow.
The festival is the third leg of the World Archery Indoor World Cup.
Previous heats have taken place in Marrakesh and Singapore, and this weekend is the last chance for competitors to pick up Indoor Archery World Cup ranking points before the final round takes place in Las Vegas next month.
And in Telford spectators are in for a treat.
The Walch family, from Gower in South Wales, travelled up yesterday to watch the first qualifiers.
They took up the sport just three months ago.
Andrew Walch, 42, said: "We tried a have- a-go event on holiday and we all loved it."
Andrew, who was with his sons Adam, 14, Daniel, 12, and Ben, eight, said: "Once we got into it we all decided to purchase the gear and shoot together.
"It cost £3,500 to get all of us bows and equipment.
"It's great for us all to take it up together at the same time and shoot as a family."
Among the competitors was Gabriel Beese-Rayboul, 12, from Black Heath in the West Midlands.
He began archery two years ago and has gone on to win the honours in national competitions.
Gabriel said he was looking forward to competing against people from all over the world.
He said: "I started shooting at the age of 10 after I first got into it on holiday at a caravan in Somerset.
"They held a try-out event with jelly bows and I really enjoyed it.
"When I got home I joined a local club and now I go to as many competitions as I can."
Gabriel added: "I won a national tournament at Lilleshall last July for my age group.
"This time I don't know how high my chances are because of the age group means I'm competing against older people, but I'm really looking forward to this tournament."
The trade event has attracted exhibitors from all over the world.
Nate Adams, who works for Tru-Ball Archery, came from Virginia in the United States.
Previously a graphic designer, he took up archery eight years ago and talked about the cost of the sport at competitive level.
He said: "Quality sights and releases can set you back around 400 dollars to 500 dollars (£240-£300) and a standard bow for competition could set you back around £1,000."
Josie and Brian Chandler, owners of LaunchTec, travelled from Portsmouth where they sell replacement blades.
The couple started LaunchTec 18 months ago after Brian couldn't find a blade he liked so made his own and started selling them.
But archery doesn't have to be an expensive hobby.
Event spokesman Peter Jones said : "It is the ultimate family sport and equality sport.
"Your age, sex, weight doesn't stop anyone from getting involved. There are plenty of local clubs that offer taster sessions, and it is a great way to see what you think."
Tickets for tomorrow's final can be bought on the door for £20.
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