Local Science teacher claims South Africa’s best outdoor archer title
30 May 2019
Marie-Louise Vermeulen, a Physical Sciences teacher at The Settlers High School in Bellville, is the South African Champion for Outdoor World Archery.
Vermeulen competed at the 69th SA National Outdoor Championships in Johannesburg over the Easter weekend.
She also participated in the Archery Field Nationals in March and was awarded a silver and bronze medal.
Her love for the sport started when her family decided to take a trip to England, where they visited Sherwood Forest and the Robin Hood museum. “There was an activity centre where you could shoot some arrows. I shot two and the first one just missed the bulls-eye. I was absolutely hooked.”
Back in South Africa, Vermeulen went for an occasional lesson at the Bellville archery club. She competed a little while at school but injury forced her to take a four-year hiatus.
At the beginning of her second year at university, Vermeulen decided to give archery another try and work towards her dream of taking part in the Olympics one day. In the last four years she got closer to realising that dream by taking part in the national championships, earning a bronze medal in 2017, a silver and gold medal in 2018 and three gold medals this year.
Vermeulen described this year’s elimination match as very intense as it ended in a one arrow shoot-off. “Each person gets one arrow to shoot in 20 seconds, the one closest to the middle wins…
The moment I saw my arrow fly into the middle, was a very joyful one... it was a moment where I realised that all the hard work, all the hours training, had paid off.”
She said archery is a very satisfying sport. “It doesn’t require great physical strength but does require an excellent technique, which takes years to 'perfect'. There is a saying that 'archery is a sport of perfection that you will never master'... but I say, 'you can always try.'
Archery has taught me to be very patient, especially with myself. It teaches you to control your thoughts and emotions as these easily and greatly influence your quality of shooting. Furthermore, perseverance, resilience and concentration, are all benefits of archery.”