Knockouts Feature at First Saint Herblain Visually Impaired Tournament

Photos courtesy of Yann Chemineau/VIAT2016

The French city of Saint Herblain’s inaugural International Visually Impaired Archery Tournament ran on 27/28 February 2016. It gathered 19 archers from four countries - Spain/Andorra, Italy, Great Britain and France - who competed in 30- and 18-metre Indoor competitions over the weekend.

The event was an opportunity for new international visually impaired athletes to become officially classified. Classification was performed by doctors from the International Blind Sports Federation with the financial support of World Archery Europe.

From a sporting point of view, the number of participants allowed interesting and passionate confrontation as the tournament saw visually impaired athletes shoot in a head-to-head brackets for the first time outside the finals of the World Archery Para Championships. Opportunities to shoot through knock-out eliminations are rare given the numbers currently listed for those categories.

At 30 metres in the VI1 category, Jordi Casellas Albiol beat Roger Rees Evans for the gold medal. Jacky Debot  took bronze.

In the VI2/3 competition, Brits Steve Prowse and Philip Tranter took the gold and bronze medals, respectively, with Christophe Gerardin silver.

In the 18m events, Loredana Ruisi won the VI1, ahead of John Nicholl and Rees Evans, while the VI2/3 category victory went to Steve Prowse, with Gerardin second and Tranter third.

Saint Herblain being the first indoor on World Archery calendar since the inclusion of visually impaired divisions on official classification basis, the best performances in each category set the first qualification world records at 18m: 350 for Ruisi in VI1 and 539 by Gerardin in VI2/3.

The tournament in Saint Herblain was also an opportunity for archers in the discipline to compete at the highest level in preparation for the upcoming European Para Archery Championships, to be held also in France, in Saint Jean de Monts, on 3-10 April 2016.