Wheelchair archers take aim at Dorey

A competitor prepares to release his arrow at a target during the National Veterans Wheelchair Games archery competition at Dorey Park in Varina on June 28.
Numerous competitors at last week’s National Veterans Wheelchair Games archery competition at Dorey Park in Varina were too good, repeatedly wearing out the bullseyes on their targets until those targets had to be exchanged among participants.

The competitors were among hundreds who came to Metro Richmond last month to compete in the games during a six-day span.

“Aside from the heat, it went off beautifully,”said Jane Walsh, the head official for the archery meet who was serving her 22nd year with the games.

Temperatures reached 98 degrees during the four hours of competition that began at about 8 a.m. June 28.

More than 60 competitors shot on 33 targets for 12 rounds -–six from 50 meters away and six from 30 meters away. Each competitor shot six arrows per round.

"Probably the hardest part of all is to make sure there are enough volunteers, because it takes at least three per target,” Walsh said.

There were more than enough volunteers to help with tasks ranging from helping load arrows to keeping core to bringing wet towels to competitors during breaks.

“This is the highlight of my year,” Walsh said of the games.“It is an honor to serve the veterans, to be able to be there and to be able to give them a quality event.

“It is an opportunity to interact, to be able to give back to someone who has given almost all of the themselves for this country.”

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games began in Richmond in 1981 with just 74 competitors. Since then, the games have been held each year at cities across the country, rising to nearly 600 competitors.

This was the first year since the inception that the competition was brought back to Metro Richmond.

Other competitions held included basketball,softball and quad rugby.
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