Christopher Davis – Australia’s first-ever World Archery Para Champion
He had upset reigning Olympic Champion and home favourite David Drahoninsky in the semifinals earlier in the week, before concluding his five-match winning streak against the 2019 winner from Türkiye, Bahattin Hekimoglu, to top the podium.
“To be the first Aus para world champ is incredible,” he said just a few hours after finishing the long journey home.
“I’m still struggling to comprehend the enormity of what we’ve accomplished.”
“The time, effort, support and energy that people have put in to help me get here is so humbling,” he added. The result has pushed Davis up to fifth in the para world ranking, a career-high.
“It’s awesome to be up amongst those names that I’ve been watching on the World Archery YouTube channel for the past few years,” the 51-year-old said.
Pilsen was Davis’ second international event after the championships in Dubai in early 2022.
“I don’t think any of the archers who went to Pilsen or any other competition go there without the hope and desire to win,” he admitted. “That’s why we all love competing, but pressure of expectation is a very hard thing to overcome.”
As well as the individual gold, Christopher collected Australia a quota spot for the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
“To be honest, when I saw I had to go up against Drahonisky, my first thought was, ‘really?’ But it also would’ve been that against any of the last four athletes,” he said.
Davis has watched the Czech two-time Paralympic Champion for a long time.
“To have the privilege to shoot against him was amazing. We had a tough match and David really pushed me to shoot and made me work hard for it, but I really enjoyed it,” he said.
On Drahoninsky’s home soil, the Australian archer played the villain.
“I’m sure it was hard for him and I feel for him on that.”
Paralysed at the age of five from a virus, Davis had an asthma attack while playing at a friend’s house but ended up in intensive care and slowly lost strength in his limbs.
His wife, Donna, is an ultra-marathon runner.
The motivation rubbed off, and Davis searched for a sport that would allow him to compete. He picked up a bow in 2019, shot his first arrow and was hooked.
Davis competes in the W1 competition for the most impaired athletes in para archery.
He shoots his compound bow with a mouthtab, biting down on the material attached to the string and pushing the bow away from him to build tension.
Try new things, says the new World Archery Para Champion.
“You just never know where it might lead,” he concludes.