We are in Medellin, Colombia for the second leg of the year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit and the weather forecast – in one of the usually sunniest stages of the circuit – is wet, very wet.
The temperature: an average of 25 degree Celsius with an 80% probability of thunderstorms (or at least a lot of water falling from the sky) for every day this week.
Rain or sun, the truth is that archers still need to shoot. (Although, if there’s thunder and lightning we do delay.) We spoke with some of the archers competing in Medellin about performing when the heavens are open and the rain is falling, and here’s the advice they had to give…
1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
“Rain can make you feel tense or cold, you can even get sick,” said Ku Bonchan, who was selected for the Korean Olympic team for Rio 2016 two weeks ago.
“It’s important to protect your body to stay strong during the competition. Get warm clothes, raincoats and proper shoes to walk on wet surfaces.”
2. UNDERSTAND THE RAIN
“Once you’re well equipped and ready to shoot, you need to understand the rain,” Ku added. “You should know that you might need to focus more than usual as arrows can be dragged down by the water.”
It’s something Japanese archer Hayashi Yuki thinks it can be solved by shooting fast.
“Rain can be hard or easy. I prefer to shoot fast and don’t take too long as arrows can get heavier with the rain and fall below your aim, rather than to the yellow rings,” she said.
Not all rain is the same.
“The first thing I normally do is to understand the intensity and direction of the rain so I can set my sight properly,” said Olympian Alejandra Valencia. “Before I stand up in the line, I try to remove the water from the string, from the arrows and my tap. Then, I’m ready to shoot.”
3. PROTECT YOUR EQUIPMENT
Two time Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion Sara Lopez had problems with her peepsight while shooting in adverse conditions. She has now found a way to avoid them.
“Many people know about my problem with my peep because of the rain. It used to get wet and messed up everything,” she said. At the Shanghai stage of the Archery World Cup in 2014, Lopez lost the final after a miss because she couldn’t see through her sight properly.
“I now try to cover it with a small towel, keeping it in place with two magnets. This way my peep never gets wet and the towel never falls off, even when I walk around the field.”
“Be sure your release is not too slick,” world number three Sebastien Peineau added.
“Be sure you have a good aiming point on your lens, too. A few years ago, we had a lot of rain during our trials. I was aiming and a big bubble came into my scope and I saw my aiming dot drop during the shoot. Better to be sure it’s protected.”
“We use camera lens gear that blows on the scope, and doesn’t wipe the water or smear it, and that gives us an advantage,” said Reo Wilde.
4. STAY MENTALLY STRONG
Long-time pro Reo had more to say about the weather as an opponent, like any other archer on the line: “Don’t let the rain get into your head, just shoot your normal shots.”
5. IT’S STILL FUN!
Because it’s still archery, after all…
Rainy days, said Italian Claudia Mandia, are even easier to enjoy than not. It has something to do with remembering being a child and not caring much about conditions but what you do, she explained:
“It’s like any normal weather condition. Go out there and enjoy. It’s always fun to shoot in the rain. With the right clothes to stay warm it should be fun!”