Visually impaired archer John Nicholl from Ballymoney recently attended the British Visually Impaired Championships in Lilleshall, Telford and in doing so, he made history, by being the first ever Deaf and Blind Archer to represent Northern Ireland at the Championships.
John is currently the leading Visually Impaired Archer throughout the Country and is now ranked Number 3 in Great Britain after finishing on the podium in third place.
John is now looking forward to the British Outdoor Championships in September where he hopes, if he performs well, he will attract the attention of Team GB selectors and the chance to represent Great Britain at the World Championships next year and a quiz was held at Ballymoney Rugby Club to help raise funds for the trip.
Chris Macfadyen, John’s Coach commented: “Preparation for the Outdoor Championships is going to plan and we are hoping for good things.
“The world of visually impaired archery is quite tricky because John has no sight, all he has is a little bit of light coming in, whereas some of the competitors he is up against have a level of vision which makes it difficult. It makes John’s achievments all the more remarkable.”
Chris continued to explain the challenges John faces. “When we are at competitions other archers have coaches who shout where the arrows are landing and the archer can make minor adjustments. John is deaf and blind so he has an added disadvantage and I use an interpreter or a form of sign language to direct him.
“What he does is massive and it has been amazing to see him develop from a leisure archer to a serious competitor. Our ultimate aim is to qualify for the Olympic team and we are hoping that visually impaired archery will be included in the 202o Japan games.
“Getting John to the British Outdoor Championships is the first step on that journey.”