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After a two-year delay, around 300 archers have gathered on P.E.I. for the Canadian Outdoor Archery Championships.
The competition was initially scheduled to take place in 2020 but was postponed due to pandemic restrictions.
"It's long overdue," said Duncan Crawford, the president of the P.E.I. Archery Association.
"A little thing called COVID happened. So here it is, 2022, and we're finally getting our chance to showcase P.E.I."
P.E.I. hosts for first time
It is the first time archery nationals have been hosted in the province. There are athletes of all ages from across the country, he said.
"To be hosting an event of this magnitude is hugely rewarding, exciting," said Crawford.
"It's just great to see so many friends back and everybody out enjoying the sport of archery."
The championships are a combination of three events: the 3D, the field and the target competition.
"It's so nice to be back finally shooting after so many, so many years," said longbow archer Miranda Sparkes from British Columbia.
"It's honestly like a big family reunion coming to these events every year."
Preparing for world championships
This week, she's aiming to bring home gold from nationals. But soon she'll have a new target and will be shooting for her second medal at the world championships.
"These kinds of level of competition helps you prepare for the level of competition you'll have at worlds," said Sparkes.
"They're so helpful."
It's been a challenging couple of years for some athletes. As COVID-19 delayed or cancelled events entirely, athletes had to adjust their training.
"When you're trying to create a training plan, you know, it's difficult to know where you're supposed to peak when you don't have any events that you're specifically training for," said Aaron Bull, the president of Archery Canada.
"Having these meaningful competitions, it means everything to a high-performance athlete."
Similar to Crawford and Sparkes, Bull is also glad to see everyone finally back together.
"The past couple of years was really challenging because we kept on ... anticipating and being prepared for when restrictions did allow us to host events," he said.
"We're just super thrilled that we were allowed with the restrictions being eased to come here and shoot again and have our first outdoor national championship in two years."
The championships run until July 24. The target competition will be held at UPEI.