Eilish Skeet eyeing her target at Solway College. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI
It is a strange feeling to have an arrow whizz past your head and impale itself in a stack of foam yoga mats.
That was a feeling I got to experience last Wednesday at Solway College, and it was a little unnerving to say the least.
Luckily for me, Solway College pupil Eilish Skeet is extremely accurate, and I was never in any real danger.
Skeet has been only been shooting competitively since the start of last year, but her experience with bows and arrows runs much deeper than that.
Her father had always had an interest in it, and her brothers were often out hunting, so it was always likely she would be reasonably good at it.
It started with shooting at targets on the family farm near Eketahuna, and now she has her own practice shooting range at the college.
She is often out training well before the other pupils are out of bed, spending a good couple of hours perfecting her craft at each session.
“It was only at the start of last year that I decided I wanted to actually do something with it,” Skeet said.
Having the school’s support behind her had made training more manageable and enjoyable.
“I’m getting more practice in now and I’ve gone from an average level to a lot better than I was before, especially now that I can actually shoot during the week rather than just on the weekends when I go home.”
Summer shooting events are mainly outdoors, but over winter there are several indoor competitions.
For Skeet’s category, she shoots 45m at outdoor events, but that will go up to 60m next year.
“I like indoor because I know what’s happening and I don’t have to think about the wind, but I like outdoor because it’s more challenging.
“The wind can change everything.”
She often shoots with her father and has long-term goals of potentially reaching the Commonwealth Games or Olympics at some stage.
“On Labour Weekend, we’re going down to Christchurch for a three-day shoot outdoors.
“Nationals for outdoors is at the start of next year and I have to shoot 60m then, so we’ll be practising that over Labour Weekend.”