Sarah Martin’s journey to the Worlds is travelling as straight as one of the 80 to 100 arrows she shoots each day.
The 39-year-old Cawston resident is the first Canadian female longbow archer to qualify for the World 3-D Archery Championships. The championships are being held in Terni, Italy at the end of August.
Martin already has a gold win in her quiver for this season as she won an indoor 3-D archery competition in Abbotsford in mid-January. Her next competition is set to take place on Valentines Day in Cloverdale.
“It’s been quite an adventure so far. I would have never guessed it would turn out like this,” Martin said last week.
Because Canada has never had a female longbow archer before this will mark the first time Canadian competitors can collect points individually and compete as a team against other countries.
Martin, an avid rifle hunter, started shooting longbow in 2013 after receiving encouragement from friends.
“A lot of my friends shoot bow because it extends the seasons quite a bit. It all started from hunting basically and I heard about this traditional archery school in Osoyoos and I thought that was pretty close. I’d heard of Brock and knew he’d been to the worlds before so I started shooting with him to learn,” she said.
Martin’s natural talent shone through immediately and soon Brock Paton of the Osoyoos Traditional Archery School was asking if she’d ever thought about shooting bow competitively.
“I am a fairly competitive person,” she said with a laugh.
Before she knew it she was travelling all over the countryside entering and winning 3-D archery competitions.
By the end of last summer she’d won gold in BC Provincials, Alberta Provincials and gold at the Indoor and Outdoor Nationals, which qualified her for the Worlds team.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” she said.
After taking a few weeks off this winter, Martin is back into her intense training.
Each day the goal is to shoot 100 arrows.
“It might not sound like much but when you consider my bow is a 46-pound bow. Right now I’m up to about 80. I also shoot in Oliver a couple times a week because they have an indoor facility and in my yard as necessary,” she said.
Depending on accuracy and time constraints it takes about an hour to shoot the 80 to 100 arrows.
Martin compares 3-D archery competitions to golf.
“It’s a bit like golf if you think about it. There’s a 3-D foam animal and everyone takes turns and then you go up to it and you score how you did on a card and go to the next target,” she said.
The animal targets vary in size from large, bear, bison anteloupe to as small as birds.
“It’s really interesting the way these clubs setup the targets so it’s challenging. It takes a lot of work,” she said.
Martin said there’s a psychological element to shooting that she finds calming.
“So when I’m shooting it’s important to tune out stimuli. You focus on your muscles, your body, your breath, where you’re looking, where you want the arrow to fly. You try to have a calm consistent release,” she said.
Adding to the complexity of her archery, Martin chooses to use handmade instead of manufactured arrows. She also uses a bow handmade by a local artisan named Vlad and her arm guards are made by a local artisan as well.
“There’s a bit of an art to it. Every arrow is different,” she said. “Every one fly’s a bit differently.”
A dozen arrows costs about $160.
“They’re brilliant arrows. He does an amazing job. I probably buy about a dozen bows a month and then while competing there’s travel and camping,” she said.
Currently Martin has a gofundme campaign going to help her raise funds to attend the Worlds in Italy this summer. Her goal is $3,500 at this point she’s received just over a $1,000 in pledges from friends and family.
Team Canada members are responsible for their travel, equipment, and uniform costs.
Anyone interested in donating can do so by going to www.gofundme.com/fggn84.