Hargest pupil has eye for target
When Reuben Ford first took up archery he wasn't, technically, even supposed to - but it turns out that he's very, very good at it.
The James Hargest College junior pupil got his first taste of the sport three years ago at a Sport Southland have-a-go day. There was an empty spot available in the afternoon archery course but, at 9, Ford didn't really meet the age requirement.
Despite that, he picked up the bow and his first shot hit the centre of the target. "It was a lucky shot, but most of the kids weren't even hitting the target." he said.
Watching was top Southland archer Tony Waddick, who was then president of the local club.
He quickly spotted Ford's potential, but even he might not have grasped just how well the boy could do in the next couple of years.
At last year's national championship in Whitianga, Ford broke the New Zealand record for the under 20s from 35m, with a score of 659 out of a possible 720.
At this year's championship, held at the same venue in early January, Ford broke his own record with a score of 685.
During the past three and a half years he's set 13 New Zealand records and is the only current archer his age to have topped 700, a mark he reached at a competition in Dunedin in November.
It's no suprise that his scores would make him more than competitive in the senior ranks.
A staff shooter for Southern Archery, Ford has no firm goals for where he'd like to head with archery but, from the trajectory he's achieved in less than four years to date, it would appear that anything is possible.
- The Southland Times