It’s 5 a.m. Tuesday and Williams Lake archer Al Campsall, having just returned the night before from the 3D Archery World Championships in Donnersbach, Austria, crawls out of bed and heads to his shooting range.
There, he practices with determination to continue his quest of winning a world championship, despite describing his performance at this year’s event as a bit disappointing.
“I have been practicing two to three hours every day and my mantra has been, ‘There are no shortcuts to any place worth going,’” Campsall said.
The event, which took place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, featured the best 250 archers in the world from 26 countries and five continents competing in four different categories.
Campsall qualified for the compound bow class, after winning his sixth Canadian national title this past August.
With high expectations heading into this year’s worlds, Campsall’s first visit, disaster struck for the Cariboo Archer.
“One mistake on my part put me out, there’s no question about it,” Campsall said, pointing to an equipment problem as the cause.
On the first day of shooting one of Campsall’s arrows veered off to the right, missing the target.
“I believe the nock on the arrow had been hit, and it was broken,” he said, noting they never found the stray arrow. “But that’s just the way it is. After that it made it difficult to continue. I think I let my nerves get to me.”
Campsall’s one freak mishap was enough to prevent him from advancing.
The first day of shooting featured two rounds of 20 shots. Campsall finished round one 14 points back of making it to day two and the round of 16, and finished 31st in the world.
“After I was not able to make it into the elimination round of 16, I was very disappointed,” he said. “Once I fixed my equipment woes I shot well enough to move on. But, alas, it was too late.
“One of my teammates, however, put it best when he said, ‘Al, you are nearly 60 years old and you still beat most of the young men who are the best in the world.’ I guess I should be content with that.”
In 2013 Campsall hopes to be right back where he was from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 — competing for Team Canada on the world stage among the best archers in the world.
“I plan to make improvements by then so that I can again wear the maple leaf with pride,” he said.
Campsall said competing at the world championships for Canada was a tremendous honour — one that didn’t quite set in until the opening ceremonies.
“I was not prepared for the flood of emotions when the Canadian team marched into the stadium to the cheers of people,” he said, and added he felt even more proud when the Canadian team sang the national anthem while his teammate was presented a silver medal.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder to wear a Canadian uniform and represent my country. It was a life changing moment, singing our anthem while that flag was being raised.”