Looks can be deceiving

8 June 2007

Eighteen year old Jessica Walters and 15-year-old Ryan Tyack look and act like any other teenager but they are national and world champions respectively and are Beijing bound.

Walters and Tyack are the emerging talents in world Archery.

They left home two years ago after the Australian Institute of Sport identified their potential and selected them to live and train at the AIS in Canberra.

But living away from family doesn’t phase these young stars.

“It was hard at first but then you’re so busy you don’t really concentrate on that sort of thing,” said Walters who placed 2nd in the Women’s individual event and won the Women’s open teams event at the 2007 Australian National Archery Championships in Perth this April.

Still at school, Walters and Tyack balance training with their studies. The Institute has programs in-place to ensure the athletes don’t neglect their education. However the days are long.

“On a morning I get up and go to school then when I return from school I have lunch and go to train. After that I would have gym or go to the recovery centre. Then I have about an hour to get ready for study hall. The day starts at about 8am and then doesn’t finish until about 10pm,” said Tyack, the current World Junior Champion (Recurve, right-handed).

Qualifying for the Beijing Games will be tough due to the high standard of Aussie competition.

“I have to beat David Barnes and Tim Cuddihy (to qualify for the Australian Team). They went to the previous Olympics and World Championships, and another bunch or archers who are just as good as they are,” Tyack said.

In May, Barnes and Cuddihy - an Olympic bronze medallist, were members of the Australian Recurve team with Michael Naray which won silver at a World Cup meet in Varese, Italy.

In Beijing only 64 men and 64 women will compete in the individual Archery events. National Olympic Committees can select three males and three females to contest the individual events but they can only enter three athletes in the team competition and they must use the same athletes entered in the individual events.

Sarah-Lucy Rice

Return to Beijing Bound

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