A YOUNG archer, whose ambition is to represent Great Britain, is on the verge of realizing his dream after being ranked number one in the country in the under-18 category.
Johnny Smart, a 16-year-old student from Richmond Sixth Form College, started archery six years ago after a friend suggested he go to an initiation session at the Catterick Leisure Centre. Johnny joined the Thirsk Bowmen Archery club and quickly developed a flair for the sport.
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He started competing four years ago and regularly competes in events across the north of England and beyond. Thanks to his outstanding performances in three recent competitions, Johnny now holds the number one national ranking.
Johnny trains three times a week, in addition to weight training and conditioning most nights to maintain the high level of fitness required to compete at an elite level. During the summer, training takes place outdoors in a pitch at the club’s base near Topcliffe, then indoors during the winter months.
Johnny’s discipline is recurve which is the Olympic style of archery. It shoots the Bristol round of 12 dozen arrows, six dozen at 80 yards, four dozen at 60 yards and two dozen at 50 yards – as well as the metric equivalent at distances of 70m, 60m, 50m and 30 m (three dozen each). He also shoots the World Archery rounds of six dozen arrows at 70m (men) or 60m (cadets) followed by the one-on-one knockout which is the Olympic format.
Johnny shoots for Thirsk Bowmen in the individual competitions and represents Yorkshire in the team events.
He said: “I’m so happy to have reached number one in the UK for the Under-18 category. I have two more years in this category before moving on to the under-21s.
“If all goes well, I hope to be selected to shoot for Team GB – that’s my ultimate dream.
“Archery is a perfect sport for anyone who loves the outdoors and has resilience and focus as well as a desire to maintain a high level of fitness.
“It’s the aspects of archery that really appeal to me, besides being part of a very friendly and social club in Thirsk Bowmen, where I meet a lot of like-minded people.”
archery champion” alt=”The Northern Echo: Johnny Smart, national archery champion” class=”editor-image”/>
Johnny has had a string of other recent successes including: Bronze at the UK Junior National Championships in Lilleshall, Silver at the UK Junior Masters in Cheltenham, Yorkshire County Champion, Counties Champion North, the Northern Counties Indoor Champion and he regularly represents Yorkshire.
Johnny’s 11-year-old brother Bert is also climbing the UK rankings and is currently ranked 15th in the Under-12 category and was part of Thirsk Bowmen’s winning side at the County Championships , as well as the winning team from Yorkshire at the Northern Counties competition.
Director Jenna Potter said: “This is an outstanding achievement for Johnny and demonstrates his talent for his sport and his incredible resilience and commitment. I have no doubt that he will continue to excel and wish him well on his journey to Team GB.
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