Eight Richmond-based archery athletes are heading to the BC Winter Games next month after it was postponed last year.
The BC Winter Games, which is being held in Vernon, B.C. from March 23 to 26, is B.C.’s biennial multi-sport event for young athletes.
In 2022, it was rescheduled due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Gum Ying Richmond Archery Club is sending two athletes, Mia Zhang and Brayden Fung, to compete in the barebow category, while six athletes, Nathania So, Brendan Chan, Jamison Hui, Dawn Yip, Gavin Ng and Markus Tai will be competing in the olympic recurve category.
The age limit for archery in BC Winter Games is 15 to 17 years old.
Several athletes from Gum Ying told the Richmond News they are looking forward to competing in the province-wide competition and to "finally move forward" with it.
Tai said he's looking forward to experiencing the once-in-a-lifetime competition after the long wait.
"I just want to finally compete in the BC Winter Games and the entire experience," he said.
However, many athletes described the postponement of the games as stressful and a "disappointment."
Despite having been confirmed a spot to compete in 2022, the athletes were required to train an additional year and take part in a "retrial" last December to confirm their spot for the rescheduled games in 2023.
"You're working so hard for this one competition and all of a sudden you have to train another year. It brings the morale down a lot," said Tai.
So and Hui, both olympic recurve archers, said the delay in the competition also added stress to their high school studies.
"It's a bit more difficult personally for me because the courses I've selected this year ... require quite a bit of time outside of school to work on," said So, adding training and studying for school exams would often overlap.
"It's a constant struggle of what do I prioritize."
Similarly, Hui said the balance between school, training and competitions has gotten "crazy" as he and several others have entered Grade 11.
"I was a bit annoyed because we put in so much work in our training, but (the BC Winter Games) got cancelled, and we could've taken that time to practice for other competitions," said Hui.
"We all want to finish this competition and move forward."
With archery being an individual sport, several of the Richmond archers will be competing each other in their respective categories.