THE latest feather in disabled archer Anton Swart’s cap is taking fourth place at the recent Eastern Cape indoor archery championships while going head-to-head against able-bodied rivals.
The 20-year-old Walmer Heights resident, who is an EP able-bodied and disabled championship titleholder, was the only disabled archer in the competition. But that has never fazed Swart who shoots able-bodied scores and regularly impresses opponents and spectators.
The former Cape Recife head boy has represented his country on several occasions and recently qualified for the Paralympic Games in England next month.
But to his disappointment, Swart is unable to attend as he is the only African archer to qualify and, according to regulations, there have to be at least three or more countries from each continent taking part.
But he can take solace in the fact that he took a respectable 17th place at a pre-Paralympic tournament in England earlier this month. Had he won his match-up against the current world champion, Swart would have taken ninth place.
“If I want to compete at the 2016 Paralympics and I am still the only African, I will have to shoot on a circuit overseas to qualify,” said Swart.
Born prematurely, one of the archer’s legs is shorter and weaker than the other. He was not able to put his foot down, but after several operations, he was able to walk with greater ease. Swart used to sit on a chair and shoot, but after working on his strength and balance at gym, he began to stand and shoot.
The talented shooter is coached by Rhodes student Lance Ho, who is possibly the youngest coach in the world. Ho has encouraged Swart to compete more against able-bodied shooters.
“In the past there was no class for disabled athletes, so I went up against the able-bodied guys,” said Swart.
Swart currently volunteers with the Feathers and Arrows archery development programme which assists those wanting to learn how to shoot properly. If you are interested in learning more about the programme, phone Joey on 082-920-3053.