Hernandez reveals Olympic hope before retirement
El Salvador’s Robert Hernandez is hoping to continue his career until he shoots an Olympic arrow.
“It’s one of the biggest dreams of every archer,” said the 33-year-old Hernandez about the potential to compete in an Olympic Games.
“It’s one of the things that you always dream [of] and if there’s also a possibility of it coming true, it is motivating a lot.”
At the end of June, World Archery revealed it had officially proposed the compound bow for inclusion alongside the current recurve events on the sports programme of the LA28 Olympic Games.
The proposal is for an additional indoor archery competition for men, women and mixed teams that would last approximately three days. It would see athletes competing over 18 metres and indoors, in comparison to the 70-metre outdoor recurve format.
And last month, the States had a taste of compound at a global multisport event with the bowstyle part of the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
“It’s one of the things that you want to do before you retire from shooting,” added Hernandez, who shot in Alabama.
“If they open one more medal that you can make, it’s definitely one of the medals that you want to get.”
Olympic inclusion would certainly ensure a more solid foundation on which compounders could build their careers.
“We have always been fighting with funding. If you're not an Olympic sport you always get less funding,” explained Hernandez. “In my country, an athlete with my results would for sure receive Olympic sponsorship from the Olympic Committee. The scholarship that gives you money for competition, for equipment, for special camps.”
“All this funding I was never allowed to get. If compound archery entered into the Olympic programme, I could apply and would definitely be one of the people that are on the list to receive that support from the Olympic Committee,” he continued.
After a career which started in 2002, followed by an international debut a few years later, in 2006, Hernandez has appeared in 36 stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup, winning one silver and four bronzes among many other successes.
None of those successes was smaller than winning the Pan Am Games when compound was added, for the first time, in 2019.
"I always think; well, when will be my retirement,” said Hernandez. “But if there's some competition that you receive support [for], you will always think; ‘okay, I can try’.”
“If you’re shooting at a good level, you always postpone that day [to retire]. I hope that I can postpone my retirement date until the day after I have finished shooting in the Olympics.”
“I will still be shooting at a good level at that time. So I hope that really happens for us.”