August 09, 2016 - 8:00 PM
PENTICTON - Similkameen archer Miranda Sparkes has a world championship in her sights.
The Keremeos resident, 23, came off a gold medal performance at the Canadian Outdoor Nationals in Windsor during the Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 weekend and has unofficially qualified to represent Canada on the national archery team in the women’s long bow at the upcoming World 3D Archery Championship to be held in September 2017 in Robion, France.
Sparkes says the national team will be announced officially following the Quebec archery provincials which take place on the Labour Day weekend.
She follows in the footsteps of fellow Similkameen archer Sarah Martin who was named to Canada’s national archery team to represent the nation in the traditional Longbow archer category in Terni, Italy, in 2015.
Sparkes has been a quick study to the sport, taking it up only last March after meeting Osoyoos archery coach Brock Paton.
“I was working at Destination Osoyoos last March when the B.C. Target Provincials were being held in Oliver. Brock, who is coach of the Osoyoos Traditional Archery School, came in and we started talking,” Sparkes says.
She had taken archery in high school and was interested in taking it up again.
Paton encouraged her to come out and give it a try.
“Last year was all for fun. I went to a number of weekend camps around B.C., then this year started competing,” she says.
One success followed another with Sparkes winning gold at the B.C. Indoor Targets shoot held in Armstrong in March, followed by another gold medal performance at the Indoor Nationals held in Cloverdale the following weekend.
Since the, she’s won gold at the B.C. Provincial Championships in Prince George in June and her gold medal win at the nationals in Windsor, Ont. last weekend.
She practices four nights a week for about an hour-and-a-half.
“In women’s longbow, you’re required to shoot wooden arrows, as opposed to carbon arrows, which are manufactured more precisely,” she says. “With wooden arrows, each arrow is a little different.”
The 3D category involves shooting at targets representing animals instead of a traditional bullseye target.
Sparkes says she owes her success to Paton.
“He founded the Osoyoos Traditional Archery School. The reason I’ve gotten good is because of him,” she says, noting Paton has been to the worlds three times himself and will probably accompany her next year.
Next year she’ll be competing in the nationals in Quebec, the provincials in Prince George and the Indoor Nationals in Lac La Biche, Alberta, prior to the worlds in France next September.
Sparkes' next shoot is a family fun affair slated for Cherryville on the weekend of Aug 13 to 14.
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