News Item: An Unusual Link between Western Province Archers & Poland
(Category: International Tournaments)
Posted by webmaster
Monday 22 August 2011 - 18:00:33

The World Archery Youth Championships is currently underway in Legnica (Poland).  Managed by Team Manager, Barbara Manning and assistant manager Dale Jaeger, the team comprises of Danelle Wentzel, Jorina Coetzee, Rheinhard Louw, Cobus Loots, Erwin Loots, James Scoones, Petrus Marx, Connor Mauldon and Nicholas Ho.  Western Province archers will be watching the World Junior Championships with interest as the province has an unusual link with Poland in the form of the Madame Skorupska Tournament which attracts a full range of archers each year.

The first Skorupska archery tournament was held at the Protea Sports Club in 1950. Today the tradition remains.

Madame Skorupska was a Polish immigrant who realized that archery was the only sport in which both able bodied and disabled athletes compete on the same footing. Her main focus was using the sport of archery as a means of rehabilitation for the disabled, and during her lifetime grew the sport in the Cape to the extent that disabled provincial archers repeatedly came back from world tournaments with gold medals.

What makes the Skorupska Tournament different is that all the participants are winners and that the archers score is of little relevance, with only the number of 10's and X's counting. As a result, it has become one of the largest archery tournaments in the Cape as it invites entrants from all archery levels. World champions compete on the same footing as novices alongside both disabled and able bodied archers.

The tournament also draws archers who knew Madame Skorupska in their youth. On the weekend of the 4th these archers, now in their 70’s and 80’s will stand on the shooting line and compete.

While everyone is a winner, and all competitors will receive a commemorative award, a silver trophy going back 59 years is awarded to the archer who shoots the most “golds”. The tournament consists of 72 arrows shot at 30 metres. The inner ring of the target, called the “gold” counts as 10 points and lies in the dead centre. Elsewhere in the gold area, nine points are scored.

This makes the tournament one of the most exciting archery competitions, as the archer with the highest score does not necessarily win the trophy. It is the archer who lands the most arrows in the gold area who receives the trophy. Along with the short shooting distance, and the limited number of arrows, the tournament is always well attended.

As a sign of remembrance of Madame Skorupska and her Polish origin, archers will wear a piece of red clothing, symbolizing the Polish flag. Red is normally reserved for the field captain and judges, and under normal conditions is strictly taboo.

So, if you are driving past the Protea Sports Club, on Saturday afternoon, in the first week of September and see a host of people in red shooting their bows and arrows, give a thought to Madame Skorupska and her dedication to the sport of archery for the disabled.

This news item is from South African National Archery Association
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