From wooden bow to the Hyundai Archery World Cup

Mujahid Adam shoots during the second stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in 2021.

When archers stepped up to the shooting line for qualification on Tuesday, you could spot a few faces unusual to the circuit. Among them, and standing next to the famous Brady Ellison, stood Mujahid Adam

The 33-year-old archer from Sudan was making his return to the Hyundai Archery World Cup after seven years. He shot one stage back in 2014 – but never since, until this week.

This story is not about his top seeding – he actually finished last over the recurve men’s 72-arrow 70-metre round with a score of 556 points – but it is about Mujahid’s lengthy and winding story to get to the line. He’s journeyed from a wooden bow to a World Cup stage.

“I started archery in 2008 in an area called Gezira, in Sudan. At that time, I was the only archer. I shot a traditional bow for two years. I had some fun,” he said.

“After our federation was founded, I became a coach and tried to teach people. No one knew anything about archery. I had to tell them everything. I was happy about that, and it was motivating me.”

They had to build everything from scratch. They had no professional equipment. Whatever they used, it was self-made.

“We shot wooden bows for three years. And we set natural targets. Then we started making our own. We developed step by step. In the beginning, no one thought we would reach such a level. And we hope to go for more.”

Such devotion helped archery to develop in his homeland.

There have now been a few Sudanese athletes on the international stage, although their appearance is not yet frequent. Three represented the country at the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco. Adam’s countryman Mahmoud Abdelwahab took part also in the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships and was, for a time, a resident athlete at the World Archery Excellence Centre, which is hosting this week’s event.

“I was the first one shooting internationally. Now, more people are shooting,” Mujahid said.

The Olympics would be the great step for Sudanese archery. And he wants to write that history.

“I came here to represent my country. I work and aim to go to the Olympic Games. I have worked very well for three years,” he said.

It was obtaining a job as an archery coach in Dubai that reignited his own competitive dreams.

“Archery needs support and a good plan. We did the plan but we needed support. I went to work but I was still shooting. I did it part-time. Then I travelled to the United Arab Emirates,” he explained.

“This is my passion. I love shooting, but you also have to work. It’s a little difficult, but I have a good team around me. And now I need to represent my country and follow my goal to participate in the Olympics at Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024.”

In Lausanne, he made a second debut on the World Cup, if you will. His result, though not yet competitive, was very much improved when compared to seven years ago. And even if it’s perhaps not likely, Mujahid will attempt to win an Olympic quota place in Paris next month. If it doesn't happen for Tokyo 2020, he will try again in three years.

“I will fight. No way to stop! If you have a dream, you have to fight for that,” he said.

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