Palau Archery Association is showing that despite being a small collection of islands they can draw a great number of competitors to the sport.
Often with our smaller Oceania nations, the big question you often hear is: Where is that?
Well Palau is a beautiful archipelago of some 300 small islands East of the Philippines and north of Indonesia (above West Papua) and is part of the federated states of Micronesia (collection of 4 states spread across the western Pacific Ocean)
Palau Archery became a member of World Archery in 2006 and has been slowly growing the sport, both in its own island and trying to spread the sport to the other nations of Micronesia as well. Palau has 10 active states (out of 12 nationally) each with 2 members of the archery association, to create their general assembly (along with 6 board members). There is over 50 registered archers in the association with many more joining in for events.
In Palau the most common sport you will find being played is Basketball. Yet as the Palau Archery federation begins to organise more events and developments, Archery is climbing the ladder of popular sports. The annual Belau Games (held in June 2019) saw the largest number of participants ever for the small island, with over 100 participants
26 Archers in the youngest Junior category (8-12 yrs.)
27 boys and 11 girls in the older Junior category (13-16 yrs.)
71 Men and 35 Women in the open category, and
8 Women's Teams and 11 Men's Teams.
Archers shot an augmented round (short distance with less arrows) due to issues around accessing equipment in the nation. This issue, like for nations in Oceania, is the biggest hurdle for Palau. Equipment is extremely expensive on the island and in some instances, has held back the federation from growing the sport. Palau was the recipient of a World Archery beginner kit in 2018 which it has used to great affect. The National sports development officer, Tutii Chilton has said “Despite this issue around expense and equipment, people are really into the sport. We just have to organise more events, training and then connect to outside events.”
Palau have been working hard on plans for 2020 and beyond with the goal for next year to have 4 events that will lead to a national championship. They are also planning to begin training each state to organise their own events and training, to have more trained administrators run and maintain the association.
“It is great to see Palau, not only growing internally but also helping to grow the sport regionally” said Oceania Development Officer Robert Turner. Palau took their WA donated equipment to Yap (a nation in Micronesia) and showcased the sport at the Micronesian games in 2018 and the National Team also participated in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa. The higher level archers in Palau are now fully focused on the 2020 WAO champs where they would love to secure a Tokyo 2020 position.
We are excited for the growth of Palau and look forward to working more with them in the coming years.