Marais aiming for African glory
The Namibian team of archers which was set to compete at the World Championships in Antalya, Turkey on Wednesday cancelled their plans due to financial reasons.
One of Namibia’s leading archers, Francois Marais believes this was another missed opportunity for Namibia as financial reasons often plague plans across most sports codes.
“The cost was rising up to N$35 000 but that was just too much for some of us. A few of us started to pull out of it early on, and we did have the option to get a loan from the
Archery Association of Namibia (AAN) and pay back in six months, but we figured it would not have been worthwhile without our best players,” said Marais.
Marais’ experience would likely have come in handy. The 23 year old athlete has been involved with some form of archery since the age of five, a passion he picked up from his father who would take him hunting.
In 2006, Marais became the world champion in the junior World Field Archery Championship that was hosted by Australia, and in 2012 he was the African champion.
In 2013 he was one of two African archers to compete at the World Games in Cali, Columbia where he finished 20th out of 24.
Marais’ passion for archery is such that in 2013 he opened up his own archery retail shop called ‘Your Butt’ which he hopes can play its part in progressing the sport in the country.
“Archery is my passion. I opened the shop and more people picking up the sport has helped, and I hope the accessibility of equipment will also help in more people picking up the sport,” he said.
He was also encouraged by the National archery school programme (NASP) which will aim to promote archery at school level.
“Archery helps with concentration so it can help students in subjects and core better academic points.”
Marais recently had an eye operation which has kept him out of competitions since February when he and Elisabeth Taljaard won the men compound and women compound divisions respectively.
Marais said the time out of archery has helped him rediscover his love for the sport.
“Before, I was just going through the motions. Perhaps I had gotten too used to archery, but I am ready to go again. I will start competing in local competitions again in June,” he said.
Namibia could host the African Championships this year, and Marais said he will take a crack at that too.
“I have a great coach, Marja Woortman who knows exactly how to train me.”
By Andreas Kathindi