PLACING as the highest ranked archer in the under-18 category on a world stage has made 17-year-old Ryan Jones even hungrier for success, he says.
Last week, he returned from competing at the Madrid 2019 World Archery Youth Championships in Spain.
“Getting on the shooting line and hearing my name called out, it was daunting but insane realising I had got to that level in the sport.”
Jones competed alongside nearly 600 other archers aged 21 and under, from 61 countries across the world between August 19-25.
After placing 32nd out of 58 athletes, some who were semi-professional archers, he never thought he would score as high as he did, he said.
“I’d never shot a score that high before so it was pretty great considering I was the underdog.”
While the weather was challenging with the heat, the atmosphere was “amazingly different”, he said.
“It was pretty daunting standing on the line with so many other people, you lose your sense of individuality a bit.
“The most people I’ve ever shot against was four but it was just about letting everything gel.”
At one point, he had managed to keep up with the number one spot until the last half of the competition, he said.
“The biggest thing I learned is that I’m hungry, now I’ve had a little bit of a taste of where I want to be it’s driven me forward.”
While he had taken a week-long break from the shooting range, the next steps would be the most important for his future in the sport, he said.
“I can’t wait to get back out there and work three times harder.”
From advice from his coach Tony Waddick, to being able to use the workshop where Mr Waddick worked for training after hours – engineering company J K Stevenson, he had a lot of support, he said.
He also thanked CrossFit Wild South, Fletcher Easysteel’s Mike Mulligan, Community Trust South, ILT Foundation, South Port NZ, The Southern Trust, JZ Archery Supplies, Sportsmed Southern Physio, and Southland Archery Club affiliates Sue and Max Walker.