Archers' indoor range 'essential'

PUBLISHED: 15:45 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:06 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH'S Olympic archery hopefuls will be forced to leave the town to train in the lead-up to London 2012 if a new all-weather archery range in Withycombe is not approved. The club want to build a 31-metre-long, eight-target indoor archery range next to

EXMOUTH'S Olympic archery hopefuls will be forced to leave the town to train in the lead-up to London 2012 if a new all-weather archery range in Withycombe is not approved.The club want to build a 31-metre-long, eight-target indoor archery range next to their outdoor facilities at the southern corner of Withycombe Raleigh Common.The timber-clad design, covering 403 square metres - with an additional 52 square metres of landscaping - would be given the appearance of a 'traditional barn' and would be 'sympathetic' to the surrounding area.The building would stand a little under five metres tall, be 12 metres wide and set into the hillside 'to minimise the visual impact'.John Russell, club secretary, said that archery was one of the few sports where able and disabled people could compete on equal terms - and the range was essential. The size of the gym we use at Exmouth Community College is barely adequate for archery and becomes uncomfortably congested."There is no wheelchair access and the congestion makes coaching almost impossible."He said they had failed to find alternative facilities and concluded that they had no option but to build their own.The club has 63 members, from children to pensioners, and is expanding, but the lack of room has led to a waiting list of over a year.He said: "New members only join as existing ones leave. The indoor range would remove this restriction allowing the club to cater for growth in the sport."The club has been at the site since 1992, and archery is growing in popularity - the club has three junior national champions and two juniors attached to the National Junior Development Squad.One of those champions is Brixington schoolboy Antony Woods, who represented England at the World Indoor Archery Championships in Turkey last year who admitted that he was inspired to take up the sport after watching the film, The Lord of the Rings. "These juniors have real prospects of shooting for Great Britain and competing at the Olympics," said Mr Russell."As part of their training regime they currently have to shoot outdoors after school every day in any weather."Unless the club can improve its indoor facilities they may have to move out of the area to continue to train when it gets closer to 2012.

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