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Only recently practised in Brazil, Archery is experiencing its best moment in history. Created in 1991, the Brazilian Confederation (CBTARCO in Portuguese) invested in two training centres in partnership with the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB in Portuguese), in order to develop the sport: one in Maricá (RJ), for young athletes to train, and another one in Campinas (SP), that gathers the ten best Brazilian archers, who train full time.
Daniel Xavier, from the state of Minas Gerais, was the only Brazilian representative in the London 2012 Olympic Games. He is thrilled with the evolution of Archery in Brazil, which will host the first South American edition of the Games.
“The Brazilian team has renewed itself and all the athletes travelling to the world championships are part of Masterplan 2016, a programme created in 2011 and conceived from an agreement between COB, CBTARCO and World Archery (International Federation), all interested in improving Brazilian archers’ technical skills for 2016 as well as their chance of medalling. It’s been two years since the start of the programme, which means Brazil has had professional archers for two years”, Daniel explained.
In Campinas, the national team – comprising five men and five women – is coached by British Richard Priestman, team bronze medallist in Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992. Six of these archers will compete in the 2013 World Championships in Belek, Turkey. Besides Daniel Xavier, the men’s team will include Marcos Bortoloto and Marcus Vinícius D’Almeida. The women’s team will be made of Sarah Nikitin, Ane Marcelle dos Santos and Marina Canetta.
Marcus Vinícius, only 15 years old, and 19-year-old Ane Marcelle come from Maricá Training Centre, inaugurated in 2009 in the state of Rio de Janeiro. They were introduced to the sport through a CBTARCO social project with the municipality’s public schools and soon fell in love with the age-old practice of using a bow and arrows to hit the target.
“I started in the sport in 2010, at the age of 12, and I’m part Brazil national team since October last year. Today, I have commitments and rules. I also know more about health as we have a nutritionist and a fitness trainer. I’m more responsible, including at school”, he said.
The competition in Turkey will be his second trip abroad. His first happened less than a month ago:
“I went to Poland to compete in the fourth stage of the World Cup, on 19-25 August”, he celebrates.
Ane Marcelle has also been training for three years but, only in 2013, she already participated in all four stages of the World Cup (China, Turkey, Colombia and Poland) and she talks like a professional. Wearing a bracelet with the inscription “I Love Archery”, she tells: “It’s a lucky charm. I’m passionate about the sport. I believe more young people should dedicate themselves to it. I believe Brazil will perform very well in the World Championships and even better in 2016”.
The year is not over yet but national team’s archers are already celebrating what they call a remarkable year. Even more so for Daniel Xavier and Sarah Nikitin, from the state of São Paulo, the two remaining archers from the team that represented Brazil in the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games.
“It’s an unusual year. We’ve been travelling a lot with the aim of competing in the world championships in the short term and preparing for the Olympic Games. Our sport has always been amateur here in Brazil but now that we earn wages, we can dedicate ourselves full time. Besides, we live and train together here in Campinas. It’s a project aimed at obtaining significant results in competitions and medals in 2016”, Sarah said.
Daniel fully agrees: “It’s a very important year for us. For the first time, we managed to participate in all World Cup stages, experiencing new things. We are also gaining experience and trust to compete on a level playing field with foreign archers. And the results in both individual and team events are getting better”.