Survival film sparks hunger for archery lessons

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Jennifer Lawrence's character has inspired many local teenagers to try archery. Photo / Supplied
Jennifer Lawrence's character has inspired many local teenagers to try archery. Photo / Supplied

Interest in archery has shot up, with clubs reporting high numbers of teenagers signing up following the release of The Hunger Games film.

One archery club said the overflow of interest had seen its beginners' coaching course - which runs for six weeks - booked up until November.

Schools are also having to make adjustments to their archery teams because of the sudden surge of popularity among students.

Auckland Archery Club secretary Jeanette Franklyn said it had enjoyed a sudden increase in the number of people - particularly teenagers - wanting to learn the sport after the release of The Hunger Games books and now film.

"It's been growing for a while now because of the books but even more so in the last month or so.

"There has been a lot more inquiries, particularly from schools for camps and for school programmes," she said.

Several high schools - including Auckland schools Selwyn College and Onehunga High School - had inquired about developing their teams because of an increase in students interested in the sport.

Last week the club hosted the Secondary Schools Inter-school archery competition and had to ask schools to cut back their teams because there were too many people.

Coaching co-ordinator for the club, Caro Geelan, said there was a huge buzz among archers.

"Everybody's talking about it. All of a sudden it's the attractive sport to get into."

Archery NZ president Frances Ross said the interest mirrors that seen after the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

She said the North Island archery champs, held this week in Rotorua, showed that The Hunger Games had definitely helped make the sport attractive to more young women.

"The number of young woman on the line just showed off how popular it is now with the girls. It's great to see there's a female lead in this movie - [Jennifer Lawrence as main character] Katniss is going to get a lot of girls into the sport. It's very exciting for archery."

The Auckland Archery Club is holding a Have-a-go day on May 6, which they expect to attract dozens of youngsters.

THE INSPIRATION

Who: Teenage heroine Katniss Everdeen.

What: Chosen to represent her district in the Hunger Games, where teenagers fight for their lives in the "ultimate" television contest.

When: Set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Skill: Katniss uses her knowledge of hunting and archery in her battle for survival.

- NZ Herald

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