Young archer set to challenge nation's best

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 31/08/2012
Ashleigh Paap
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ

ON TARGET: Talented archer Ashleigh Paap is hoping for a high level of competition at the national indoor championships in Palmerston North this weekend.

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Young Palmerston North sports star Ashleigh Paap has a chance to compete with the country's best at the indoor archery championships in Palmerston North this weekend.

The 17-year-old, who competed as a junior for New Zealand at the trans-Tasman youth challenge with Australia, does not have many competitors at her level in Manawatu.

With more than 80 people competing at the event, which starts tomorrow at the B&M Centre, she was looking forward to shooting with some of New Zealand's best.

"There's not actually a lot of people in my division," she said.

"You can really only compete against yourself and keep improving and in competition you can shoot against the others, that's like the trans-Tasman one.

"You could shoot against people at the same level."

At the trans-Tasman tournament in Rotorua, Paap broke five New Zealand records and the Kiwis won, so, hopefully, competing at tomorrow's national event will lift her performance.

"I like having lots of people in my division so you can shoot and have a really strong competition and it pushes you to do better as well."

The Freyberg High School pupil, who competes in the cadet women's recurve division, trains twice a week indoors and once a week at the Manawatu Archery Club's outdoor range.

Paap wanted to get her form as consistent as possible for the event and was happy with it at present.

"I just work on my form," she said.

"I don't worry about the scores on the day so much until the end.

"I keep trying to get in the game but I don't focus on the numbers."

This weekend's event will feature shooters from around the country, including New Zealand's top-ranked archers, Shaun Teasdale and Stephen Clifton, from Auckland.

The event will open with a performance by the Queen Elizabeth College kapa haka group.

The finals and a knockout competition are on Sunday.

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- Manawatu Standard

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