Pattamapawn Suchard (Pem) is a little 9-year old Thai girl, and Pattaya Archery Club’s newest and youngest member. After just three lessons with Eric Hearn, the club’s coach, Pem shot her first ever ‘gold’ (archery’s equivalent of the ‘bull’ for guns) at 18 metres. She was over the moon, as well may be expected. A great achievement for so young a child, and one so petite as well.
The club’s training bow was bigger than she is, and although the arrows were the shortest in the club’s extensive collection of arrows for learners, they were too long for her little arms. She looked a bit overwhelmed by the bow, but quickly understood the coach’s advice, and soon developed a good technique … as evidenced by her ‘gold.’ A quick learner.
Pem celebrates her first target gold.
The club has two other 11-year old archers (a Brit and a Russian) and a 14-year old Australian as well. All three are boys, so Pem is the club’s only current girl archer. She had a teddy bear motive on her dress, but we don’t expect the same for the boys!
There have been several young girl archers in the club in the past … but all were taken by their parents to live either in the UK or New Zealand. Good archers those girls were, too. Maybe they will qualify for their country’s archery team in a few years?
Conventional archery theory believes that very young children do not have the mental staying power and self control to succeed in the sport. Most of the world’s top archers are in their 20s and 30s, and many have been shooting since their early teens. So Pem has a head start already.
Pem is very sensible for her age and is extremely keen to shoot ‘her’ club bow … so maybe she’ll shoot for Thailand’s archery team in the years to come? She certainly has all the right ingredients to succeed in the sport.
In contrast, the club’s oldest member is the coach, who is 72 years of age … and still shooting … which illustrates the attraction of the sport to all ages. Most archery club members are retired farangs in their 50s and 60s, although there are several younger members who are still working and have to fit their archery around their work commitments.
Pattaya Archery Club meets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, beginning at 10.00 am and finishing at about noon or thereafter. Everyone is welcome to come along to the Pattaya Shooting and Adventure Park in Hua Yai and find out what it is all about.
Beginners’ coaching is held on any of the club’s meeting days. The coach’s services and the use of the club’s bows, arrows and other equipment are free for beginners, and so it costs nothing to see if this challenging sport is for you.
For more details visit Pattaya Archery Club’s website at www.pattayaarcheryclub.com, or telephone Eric, the club’s President, on 089 535 1193.
The diminutive archer was not fazed by using adult sized bows and arrows.