Graham Potts of Archery GB is currently out in Rio where he is lead judge in the archery. Here is his latest update from balmy Brazil…

Well it’s day 4 out here in sunny Rio (and by that, I mean day 4 of the Olympic Games!) – we tend to lose track of the actual date, and work on the day numbers!

The weather is good generally – my tan is building well (better than I would probably have got at home even though it’s winter here!) and so far the mozzies have decided their taste buds don’t want to try me (although the insect repellent we use is helping).

The Sambodromo looks just great, with changes made as requested since the test event, and the pictures from up in the air really sell the venue.

Archery Ranking Rounds and a World Record

I arrived on the 1st August, and from then on myself and the team of International Judges and National Judges who are assisting us were busy working with the venue team, the World Archery Team and of course the athletes and coaches to help ensure when we started on the Friday, with the Ranking Round, it could be with a bang. And wasn’t it just, with Kim Woojin of Korea using the “platform” he was shooting on as a platform to build the first 700 score in a 70m round with a recurve bow – what a great start.

The Opening Ceremony

We were then fortunate to attend the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony which was really enjoyable. Our journey there and back was uneventful, using the Rio Metro, and we were in the great Maracana stadium. Many of you will have watched this on TV, so I won’t bore you, but the colour, music and above all vibrancy of the show set up the Rio Olympic Games well.

The Saturday 6th August was another great day with the Men’s team event – the final between Korea and USA was of the highest quality, and although the Koreans won 6-0, they did so shooting 177 out of a possible 180 points in the three sets. The USA team performed well, but the Korean’s were unbeatable, and the reactions straight after between the teams showed the respect the USA had for the Koreans superb performance.

Sunday – Ladies teams, and predictably perhaps the Koreans won gold number 2 – what are the odds for a clean sweep now?

One of the spectacles of both the first two days were the athlete entrances to the Field of Play through a guard of honour formed by the Samba Girls and the Drummers who perform during the day at the venue – somehow most of us cannot help but smile!

Archery Starts in Earnest

Monday saw the start of the Individual eliminations, a mixture of Men’s and Women’s 1/32 and 1/16th rounds through a 30 match day. And again the event delivered the stories – Kim Woojin dropping more points in his 1/16th match than he did throughout the entire 70m round, and losing to the Indonesian archer. It was also a day where we saw a number of the smaller nations performing well and moving forward to the Thursday / Friday finals days – the pick of this for me was the lady from Myanmar.

And all of this cannot happen without the judges doing their job, together with the Director of Shooting. I am a lucky man to have a great team working for me, and working so well together with the National Judges supporting us. We have to keep our standard up and continue to seek improvement, but so far so good.

It’s Not All Work!

And for the evenings? We don’t all go out together, as it’s difficult to get a table for so many, but I have managed a few good meals out, a visit to the Olympic store on the Copacabana beach area (sadly late in the evening, so the beach was clear!) and last night a walk on the Olympic Boulevard not far from our hotel where the Olympic flame is now burning – all good evenings in good company.

We have 4 more days to do (including today) and while we have to work on avoiding complacency, I hope the athletes continue to provide the exceptional performances they are giving and continue with the exciting matches that make Archery a great sport to watch at the Olympic Games.

Graham Potts

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