Nimes youth winner Wise on his rise through the ranks

Most archers advance from casual practice at the club to some level of competition. Tournaments are a fantastic way to meet other archers, test skills and set benchmarks for further training – plus, they’re social.

The more you train, the better you get, and the more advanced competitions become available.

For some people, like Great Britain’s Alex Wise, that progression happens quicker than for most. He tried archery at a holiday resort in Turkey, finished his beginners course later that year and – two-and-a-half years later – was shooting for his country at the European Indoor Championships in Vittel, France in March 2017.

“I tried to tell myself that I was European Champion! I scored a lot of rounds as practice so if I got there and something went wrong, I knew how to come back from it,” he said, explaining how he visualised a level of tournament he’d never experienced.

“The venue in Vittel was about 10 times the size of anything else I’d experienced. And everything was very serious. The rounds are exactly the same as those you shoot locally at home, but everyone is wearing team uniforms and you can recognise famous faces on the line.”

“It was daunting, but I got used to it.”

In 2017, Wise made his senior debut and shot his first World Archery Youth Championships – and then, to start 2018, he won the recurve junior men’s competition at the third stage of the 2017/18 Indoor Archery World Cup in Nimes, France.

“It’s good it all has been happening so quickly. Obviously, I worked really hard for it, so I’m happy that I’m reaping the rewards,” said Wise, back at the youth worlds in Argentina.

And it did all happen very fast.

In the space of six months, Wise went from having nothing on his international record sheet to two continental and three major international events, including his first senior World Archery Championships, where he lost in the first round to Mangal Singh Champia.

“I’m a very competitive person, I like being against people,” Alex said. “And even shooting as a team we always have to fight to be picked for the mixed team; it’s [the competition that] keeps me in and motivated.”

Having proved his talent, it’s only hard work that separates Wise from a long and successful future in the sport. It’s a future that revolves around the normal main event – the Olympics – but that’s still a while off.

“When things are going badly, you can’t just give up one day and say you’ll come back to it, you have to persevere,” said Alex.

“[It’s important to] compete and get lots of scores. Everyone can do well in practice, but you must perform well in competition, too, to get anywhere.”