AFTER five arduous days of competition, during which she had to battle intense heat, blinding sunshine, long days and gruelling courses, 16-year-old Makenna Chadwick was crowned Junior Female Bow Hunter Recurve World Champion at Potchefstroom in the North West Province of South Africa.
The Drumragh Integrated College pupil had targeted a podium place ahead of the tournament, but she exceeded those expectations by adding a world gold medal to the European bronze she claimed back in February.
And, having won UK, Irish and NI titles earlier in the season, her accomplishments could be embellished further as she awaits notification about her score in South Africa possibly being a world record.
“After five consecutive days shooting, months of preparation, the most challenging courses in 40 degree direct sun, Makenna is totally exhausted,” observed her father, Adrian, a fellow member of Drumquin Archery Club, who was also competing at the competition.
“We are so proud of the manner she approached this competition and that stamina, endurance, along with her shooting lays testimony to her commitment.
“I am delighted that Northern Ireland has a new world champion and a new world record pending.
“We are obviously delighted at this wonderful achievement from Makenna.
“She was confident of doing well, but to become a world champion is something else. We are very proud.”
Against 26 other nations and many other shooters of a high standard, Makenna got her campaign underway with three hours of shooting before suffering from heat exhaustion but after receiving two hydration packs she resumed shooting and finished day one shattered.
On day two, on the Fish Eagle course, which was a little more sheltered, but still incredibly hot, a fully hydrated Makenna equalled the UK and Ireland Field Archery Championship record she set back in July.
Day three was the hottest of the week and it saw Makenna taking on the 15km long Impala Range. Undaunted, the talented teen shot an improved score on the previous day, shooting a new PB to set her up for day four on the Oryx Range, which was the second field round.
Makenna shot alongside two South Africans and a Hungarian on what wasn’t the longest of courses, but was most certainly the most challenging to date as it was completely exposed to the draining sunshine and it had lots of gradient shots. Makenna struggled a little, but she still out-scored her father by eight points to leave herself well placed for the concluding day, which was shot on the Imparla Range, which was the longest and most exposed of the week.
On the concluding day, Makenna saved her best until last, not wasting one of her 112 remaining arrows, overcoming the terrain, the course and the conditions to seal her first World title in style.