Scottish War Blinded members on target at national archery championships

Posted: 01/11/2016 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded member Derek McDonald (pictured left) recently won the National Scottish Visual Impairment Archery Championships in Glasgow. He was closely followed by fellow member Jocky Elliot (pictured right), who finished in the silver medal position.

Both members have developed a strong sense of friendship and camaraderie through their shared passion for archery and, as Derek describes, their experiences practising and competing together throughout the year led them to enter the national competition.

“Jocky and I have competed in archery competitions this year at Brighton and have practiced together at Centenary Hall at Linburn. We saw the advert for the Scottish National Championships and thought we would be bold and go for it.I am happy to say that I was able to win the gold medal and Jocky won Silver. It was a very good day out and our coaches were delighted.”

Derek began his archery journey four years ago which was more about fun rather than having any serious competitive aspirations. Derek describes the event which changed everything.

“When I first started, I had no thoughts about competing as it was all about having fun. I remember going down to Brighton for what I believed was a week of coaching, but it turned out to be competition week. It was getting that competitive experience which really made the difference.”

Derek, who served in the Royal Signals during National Service and developed Age Related Macular Degeneration in subsequent later life, describes how he is able to take aim despite significant sight loss.

“I use eccentric viewing, which means looking out the corner of my eye, detecting where the target is and shooting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As long as you get your feet and stance right, coupled with repetition, then it works. Archery is one of these sports for all age and abilities and you certainly can it enjoy it despite sight loss.”