Legally blind Whangārei student Mitchell O'Brien does not have a super interest in archery, he didn't practice it, but cleaned the floor in the sport at the recent Halberg Games.

The 14-year-old Whangārei Boys' High School student reckons he probably won on "complete luck", beating last year's winner who happened to be his friend from Wellington.

His friend could only see arm's length.

The 2018 Halberg Games, a national three-day sports competition for physically disabled and visually impaired athletes aged between 8 and 21, were held in Auckland.


O'Brien was part of 10 participants from Northland and won the overall archery competition with his impressive aim with bow and arrow from about 5m out.

He also competed in swimming, athletics and rowing.

"I started archery on a whim. I don't have a super interest in the sport but have an interest in learning about weapon handling and in martial arts. I have a brown belt in taekwondo."

O'Brien can see colour contrasts when they are close and was able to hit the most gold colours in the target at the games.

This was his third year at the games and he coached archers last year but was urged by a coach to compete this year.

"I didn't practice in the lead up to the games and probably won on complete luck. I was very surprised at the results because I didn't expect to hit as many gold as I did."

Although O'Brien is thinking about joining an archery club in Whangārei, he wants to focus on swimming and athletics because those sports are more accessible.

Proud mum Katherine said her son was no quitter and would try everything to the best of
his ability.

"He's very competitive and doesn't let his vision hold him back."

The O'Brien family moved from Opua about four years ago.

This year, 150 athletes competed in 12 regional teams, across 17 different sports including swimming, wheelchair basketball, blind cricket, blind and wheelchair rugby and athletics at the games.

Halberg Games give athletes the opportunity to try new sports, meet other people from around the country, compete at a national level and provides a pathway for participants to pursue further sporting goals.