Sydney Watson is set for the world stage and she’s raring to go.
“I’m anxious, I just want to go,” she said of the junior outdoor world archery championship set for Aug. 22 – 28, in Legnica, Poland.
“I’m just excited to go.”
Holder of five Canadian records, Watson, 16, has been practicing shooting targets at 50 m for weeks in preparation for the junior world archery championship.
At the championship all archers shoot an initial two rounds of 36 arrows at a target 50 m away. Archers with the top 32 scores will move on to bracketed match play, the top archer with the top score faces the archer with the lowest score and so on.
Match play continues until one archer remains, the junior world champion.
The current junior world record, for two rounds of 36 arrows at 50 m, is 682, established last April by Toja Cerne, an archer from Slovenia.
The junior Canadian record, set by Watson earlier this month is 662.
The 20 point difference does not pose a problem, Watson’s coach Dale Chapplow said.
Chapplow points to the world qualifying tournament in Burnaby, where Watson qualified for the world championship and set the Canadian record despite her feet being buried in mud, mosquitoes and rain.
“Nothing fazed her,” Chapplow said.
Chapplow also recalls a recent practice session at Pioneer Park.
“Harrassed by mosquitoes, the weather was chilly and she shot what would be a new world record,” Chapplow said.
She shot one round of 36 arrows before calling it a day. But if Watson had shot a second round with the same score as the round she did shoot, she would have beat the current world record, Chapplow explained.
Before heading over to Poland, Watson will travel to Trois Rivieres, Que. for a final qualifying trial. Watson, has already qualified to be on the Canadian junior team, but going to Québec will provide her with additional top-level competition experience.
Although already a distinguished archer, nerves are still a problem Watson admitted and not always easily controlled.
But Watson often practices with either her grandfather Sandi Watson and/or her father Scott Watson, both accomplished archers in their own right and both have offered tips and advice on how to deal with nerves and distractions at elite competitions.
They’ve been there.
To help manage the nerves, Sandi and Scott gave Sydney the perfect advice.
“Just imagine I am shooting arrows at home,” she said with a laugh.
To achieve her level of success, Watson has spent countless hours practicing, and is grateful Extra Foods, where she works part-time, are flexible with her hours.
Any success she has had, Watson attributes to the guidance and support she receives from her family, notably her grandfather and father.
Also at the top of Watson’s list is her coach Dale Chapplow, who often travels, at his own expense, to various competitions within B.C. and across Canada so he can provide advice and guidance.
“He keeps telling me the same things over and over, but it’s good to have him around to help me get them into my head,” Watson said of Chapplow’s patient yet persistent approach.
Some of those things she has written on the inside of her quiver.
“Self-confidence,” she said was at the top of the list of the points she needs to focus on at competitions.
“One arrow at a time.
“Don’t be distracted by a bad shot.”
Watson’s confidence received a boost recently when Sandi bought her a new bow, a bow that can send arrows zipping faster towards the target, very helpful when the wind conditions are less than ideal.
But Chapplow admitted the world championships are a different kind of beast.
“If she can block out the audience, the yelling and screaming, she can do well,” he said.
“Her score is fine.
“It’s the mental aspect she needs to focus on.”
If Watson does manage her nerves, and shoots like she shoots at home, then the sky is the limit for Watson at the world championship.
“She’s focused, she wants to win,” Chapplow said as Watson and grandfather set about practicing, one more time.