May 4, 2014 11:40 pm

Archery club sees drastic increase in ever-younger members

Annabelle Jain, 8, practises on Sunday morning.

Taryn Snell / Global News

REGINA – Younger crowds are creating an archery renaissance of sorts at a local archery club.

“I think it’s increasing because it is a family [activity]. They can do it all together,” said Wascana Archers publicity director Krista Ball.

The number of archers in the Junior Olympic Program  (ages 8 to 20) at the club has jumped up significantly over the years from 10 in 2001 to 73 in 2014.

The program is a key step to becoming a better archer in the province and country.

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Shannon Lakeman, 17, was previously in the program: “It’s fun, you meet a lot of great people, and meeting the people is the best part about it,” said Lakeman at the Wascana Archers outdoor range on Sunday.

The award-winning archer has been a member of the club for a dozen years. She has noticed a couple of demographic changes first-hand.

“I have heard a lot of kids… love to get into it because of Katniss and because of ‘The Hunger Games’,” said Lakeman.

While the club is still male-dominated, over the years, the sexes have been getting closer to being equally-represented on the range, she added.

Lakeman started playing the sport because of her family.

“Even my cousins, uncles, and stuff like that did it, so it was a big family thing, and that’s how we spent our time together,” she said.

That was the same reason Shane Tratch was introduced to the sport; he’s since done the same for his step-daughter, Annabelle Jain.

“Her first shot that she did, she hit right in the bullseye. We thought it was pure beginner’s luck, but then the next four arrows were touching each other in the bullseye,” said Tracht.

And, just like that, the Olympic aspirations were activated.

“I want to go around the world and be an archer,” said 8-year-old Jain.

“It’s not a multi-tasking sport. It’s something you really have to practise at, and you have to think about. So it works your mind, it works your body,” said Ball.

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