REBECCA Lennon, a member of Ballyvally archery club, Banbridge has been chosen for the GB target squad.
At the age of 15 this is a truly fantastic achievement for Rebecca, who is already on the Northern Ireland Elite Squad as is her older brother Frank. However success like this does not come easily or overnight.
Rebecca’s first introduction to archery was when she was just eight years old, at Ballyvally Archery Club where her older brother had been shooting for two years.
After watching from the side lines Rebecca decided to have a go at archery. Little did she or her family know how successful the outcome would be.
It was barebow style with traditional wooden arrows to start with for Rebecca, then progression on to a more complicated bow style with sights and stabilizers. The latter style is more commonly shot at target archery though each style is a discipline in itself requiring a high level of skill and concentration.
Then Rebecca had to put in all the hard work of attending target shoots all over Ireland. Seventy metre shots had to be mastered - the distance shot in the Olympics - and producing scores that some adults would struggle to achieve gained Rebecca entry on to the GB Target archery squad this year.
Rebecca is also an accomplished field archer, a discipline requiring field craft skills different to that of target archery but like bow styles equally as difficult to master.
The role of Ballyvally has been instrumental in helping Rebecca achieve success. “The club has enabled me to have coaching, hours of practice and it was there I was taught my first lessons in archery,” says Rebecca.
“I enjoy going to archery competitions outside the club, meeting new people and also organised trips away with Ballyvally to shoot in Scotland, England, Wales and Southern Ireland.
Proud dad Damien, a keen archer and successful Northern Ireland level in the sport, has dedicated much of his time in helping and encouraging the sport of archery within his family.
Like a lot of other parents with kids in the sport Damien provides a ‘taxi service’ to shoots and squad training.
Damien gives on-going coaching support for both his children and takes great pleasure in doing so.
“Archery has been a sport that we can participate in as a family, allowing us to enjoy our family time within a safe environment and in an increasingly competitive sport,” he said.
“We have made fantastic friends not only within Ireland but all over the UK.
“The family ethos of Ballyvally means we have bonded with other families within the sport and been able to compete not only at club level but Northern Ireland and GB level too.”
Rebecca’s next major competition will be the Irish Indoor Championships held near Dundalk November 24 for which the club wishes her well. They also wish Rebecca every success for her continued journey on the GB squad.