A young archer whose ambition is to represent Great Britain is one step closer to realising his dream after being ranked number one in the country in the Under 18 category.
Johnny Smart, a 16-year old student at Richmond Sixth Form College from Skipton-on-Swale, took up archery six years ago after a friend suggested he go to a taster session at Catterick Leisure Centre.
Johnny later joined the Thirsk Bowmen Archery club and developed a flair for the sport.
He started competing four years ago and regularly takes part in events across the north of England and further afield.
As a result of his performances in three recent competitions, Johnny now holds the top national ranking.
Johnny trains three times each week, in addition to doing weight training and conditioning most evenings to retain the high level of fitness required to compete at an elite level.
During the summer, the training is outdoors in a field at the club’s base near Topcliffe and then indoors during the winter months.
Johnny’s discipline is recurve which is the Olympic style of archery.
He shoots the 12-dozen-arrow Bristol round which is six dozen at 80yds, 4 dozen at 60yds and 2 dozen at 50yds as well as the Metric equivalent at distances of 70m, 60m, 50m and 30m.
He also shoots the World Archery rounds of six dozen arrows at 70m (mens) or 60m (cadets) followed by the head-to- head knockout which is the Olympic format.
Johnny shoots for Thirsk Bowmen in individual competitions and represents Yorkshire in team events.
He said: “I am so pleased to have achieved number 1 ranking in the UK for the Under 18 class. I have two more years in this category before moving up to the Under 21s. If all goes well, I hope to be selected to shoot for Team GB – this is my ultimate dream.
“Archery is a sport that is perfect for anyone who has a love of the outdoors and has resilience and focus as well as a desire to retain a high level of fitness.
“These are the aspects of archery that really appeal to me, as well as being part of a very friendly and social club at Thirsk Bowmen, where I meet a lot of like-minded people.”
Johnny has had a string of other recent successes, including bronze at the UK Junior Nationals at Lilleshall, silver in the UK Junior Masters at Cheltenham, Yorkshire County Champion, Northern Counties Champion, Northern Counties Indoor Champion as well as regularly representing Yorkshire.
Johnny’s 11-year old brother, Bert, is also currently shooting up the UK rankings and is currently placed 15th in the wnder 12 category and was part of the winning Thirsk Bowmen recurve team at the county championships, and also the winning Yorkshire recurve team at the Northern Counties competition.
Headteacher Jenna Potter said: “This is an outstanding achievement for Johnny and demonstrates his talent for his sport and his amazing resilience and commitment.
“I am in no doubt that he will continue to excel and wish him well on his pathway to team GB.”