Shannon Sim first became interested in archery during her secondary school days, when her father enrolled her in a beginner’s course at a community club. On the other hand, Chew Der Lun was inspired by watching archery on television. The two are members of the SAFRA Archery Club, only started last year as part of the SAFRA Adventure Club, which welcomes participation by newcomers of any age and skill level. According to Shannon, 23, a Singapore Management University student in psychology, SAFRA organised its first-ever target sports challenge at SAFRA Yishun last March.
During the SAFRA On Target event, participants tried their hand at bowling, air rifle shooting and archery. That same month, Shannon started volunteering with SAFRA. Currently, she is the team captain for compound archery. According to her, the SAFRA Adventure Club had previously organised some archery tag games (with foam-tipped arrows) and noted a growing interest in archery. She adds that age and inexperience are no obstacles.
“Archery appeals to a wide range of audience. We have participants from 10 years old to over 60. There are many kids interested to start archery early. However, we advise parents to accompany their child to see if he or she is able to handle the bow before enrolment!” Wealth planner Der Lun, who is in his 30s, volunteers as a coach, and helps new participants familiarise with and adjust to the equipment used in archery. “We have, on average, five to eight people per month taking up the basic archery course. At this rate, we will need a bigger range to conduct our archery lessons soon.”
Currently, the archery club has weekly training sessions at SAFRA Yishun for members on Sundays. It also organises regular lessons for the public on a bimonthly basis. It is also exploring holding friendly matches with other local archery clubs and taking part in local competitions before considering holding activities overseas, says Shannon. Der Lun, who considers himself a semi-professional archer – one who has competed with some success in recent years – says that the keys to being a good archer are discipline, focus, having mental strength and a willingness to commit enough time to train.
“Archery is a very relaxing sport that anyone can enjoy and, at the same time, a very competitive one if you are up for the challenges,” he says. “You can choose to be a leisure archer or a competitive one, at your own pace.” Shannon, whose father and sister are also members of the archery club, speaks from experience that the sport can also be a terrific family activity. “Having family members take up the same sport is great, as that means more bonding time and greater mutual understanding!”