Rocky View County resident Andrew Smollett, 19, is headed to Wroclaw, Poland on Aug. 5 to compete in the World Archery Youth Championships in the Junior Male Recurve Division.
“I was a little bit in disbelief,” said Smollett when describing how he felt after hearing the news he’d made Canada’s youth national team.
“I’ve always wanted to make it this far. I’ve played different sports growing up like hockey and lacrosse, but I’ve never made it to this level. Now that I’ve made it to a national level and am competing at a world championship, it’s surreal, amazing.”
His father, Rick Smollett, said he was extremely excited for his son, who he added has put in the effort to make it to where he is today in the sport of archery.
“[Andrew] has put a lot of work into this and a lot of dedication into his training,” Rick said. “It’s been amazing to see him grow in the sport.”
Smollett’s love for archery began when he was gifted a compound bow for Christmas in 2015, with the intention of using it on hunting excursions with his dad. In 2017, he got his first recurve bow for target shooting.
He said he spent a full year practicing three to four days a week with a highly regarded archery coach at Jim-Bow Archery in Calgary to get the hang of the sport. Within two and a half years, Smollett was competing at the international level – something that is far from ordinary.
“My coach was actually pretty impressed with how fast I was catching on and just the dedication I had to it,” he said.
In a typical year, archers would attend competitions in order to qualify for Worlds. However, COVID-19 restrictions changed the format this year. Smollett said that in order to qualify, he had to submit a certain day and time that he was going to shoot. One of his parents would attend with him to maintain honesty, and they would take pictures of his shots to verify his scores. Those scores were then sent to Archery Canada, whose staff would then rank all of the submitted scores. The top three shooters would advance to Poland.
Smollett shot a 652 out of 720 – the top score among all contenders. He also placed in the top nine of all Worlds submissions.
Archery is scored by valuing each ring of the target. The centre ring is worth 10 points, while the rest of the rings are in sequential order from nine to one. If an archer misses the target, no points are awarded. Competitors will shoot from a distance of 70 metres, similar to the style that is taking place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Smollett said he also spends time volunteering at his range, helping out younger archers and assisting in coaching before and after his own practices
“I’m just trying to give back to the community that helped me get here,” he said, adding he would like to extend numerous thanks to everyone who assisted and supported him in his archery career thus far.
Smollett said he is extremely proud to be representing Canada and Alberta on the world stage.
The World Archery Youth Championships runs from Aug. 5 to 9. Community members can keep up with Smollett’s scores and competition progress at bit.ly/3BCQXvR.