Get to know: Danish compounder Mathias Fullerton
Fresh off winning the under-21 title at European Indoor Championships, this is World Archery’s bite-sized introduction to rising star and Danish compounder Mathias Fullerton.
One archer with big expectations on his shoulders this season is Mathias Fullerton. Not that you would know it.
In 2021, the Dane ripped through the ranks, ending his debut season as the second-ranked compound man on the planet. But the calm and composed 18-year-old did not let the success go to his head, admitting he was just happy to be there during his breakthrough year on the professional tour.
The unassuming Fullerton is so modest about his extraordinary talents that he admits he is “not really thinking” about the added pressure to perform during his upcoming follow-up campaign.
It could be easy to ignore the person behind the blue-tinted glasses, but that would be a mistake.
Here are eight things you need to know about the Scandinavian teenage sensation.
1. No free passes
Fullerton has not had an easy ride to the top of his sport. A serious and, what he calls a “chaotic” health condition as a child, saw his career almost over before it had even started when intense training became increasingly difficult.
“I had epilepsy when I was younger. I first had it when I was around the age of three, but it went away. Then, in my teenage years, it came back, but I haven’t had a seizure since 2018,” he explains.
“I had to take medication for it and it had side effects. I had a hand tremor, which is probably the worst thing you can have in archery. I had to come off it, but the other medication made me really tired.”
2. Reality, virtually
Away from archery, Fullerton is a keen online gamer, playing first-person shooter games predominantly. He has also just invested in virtual reality glasses, which have made their way into his travel bag for away trips.
“Gaming is a side hobby I’ve always liked and it brings out the competitive nature in me. When we aren’t shooting, me and a bunch of guys will be in the hotel room either shooting at each other or playing table tennis in VR,” he says.
“It helps me relax as you focus only on the VR. You don’t see your normal world and you can forget normal life. Also, learning how to be composed in scary or tough situations helps me in other areas as well, like archery.”
3. The world is blue
You might have noticed in many of his competitions that Fullerton wears a blue-tinted pair of glasses. But they’re not a fashion statement or a sponsor requirement, they are worn to help protect his sensitive eyes.
“Using them helps me focus and makes the colours on the board much clearer for me. Mostly, they take the shiny light away so I don’t have to squint and my eyes can be more relaxed. Having that small advantage can help me win,” he explains.
4. Getting physical
Want to know the secret to his rapid rise in 2021? Burying himself in the gym. Fullerton is fully aware that shooting on the range alone is not enough and needs to do more if he wants to achieve his goals.
“I did a lot of gym workouts during lockdown. I even bought some equipment to have at home. Being physically strong is very important and I have started bulking out a bit more,” he says.
“I used to be at a disadvantage with my strength. Other archers can still handle more weight on their bow, and more poundage which makes it steadier in the wind, so training my physical ability is very important for my future.”
5. Aiming for the top
Not content with being the youngest member of the world’s top 15-ranked archers, he now wants to take the next step and challenge Mike Schloesser for the top spot, take senior global honours and see his discipline at the very highest sporting level.
“Being ranked world number one is a dream for most athletes, even just being there once, so being so close now gives me hope it might happen in the future,” he says. “Winning the world championships would also be a huge accomplishment and I hope compound makes the Olympic Games one day as well.”
6. A father figure
Fullerton followed in the family footsteps by taking up archery, with his father taking him shooting not long after he learnt how to walk.
“I started shooting a little when I was around three or four-years-old. I would have shot my first arrows with a tiny bow. My dad used to be a very talented shooter and shot internationally. When I was born, he took me down the range and it went from there,” he says.
7. Liquid energy
Cool, calm and collected, Fullerton is not one for superstitions or following a detailed routine religiously. But there is one thing he needs to perform at his best: Powerade. If you want to mess with his mind? Hide it.
“Sometimes if I forget to drink it before an event I don’t feel quite right,” he says. “I used to have some small lucky charms on my equipment as well, but they fell off so I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.”
8. Individual > team sports
He was a promising junior golfer before dedicating himself to archery but still enjoys watching multiple sports, especially Formula One and darts. One thing is for certain: he was always destined for individual sports.
“I remember doing a bit of football when I was younger and hating it. I never liked team sports, I don’t know why. I enjoy all individual sports though,” he says.
“I had a good golf swing but it was more just a hobby at that time, something I did with my dad. We’d go to the driving range and play some courses. I enjoyed archery more though, so I think I made the right decision.”
Follow Mathias on Instagram: @mathiasfullerton
Some photos courtesy World Archery Europe.