GRIFFITH’S straightest shooters are off to Wuxi, China to represent Australia at the World Youth Championships for archery.
Sean Pianca and Maddie Salvestro, both 16, will jet off later this week to compete alongside 760 other elite archers from around the globe.
Both competitors are tipped to be in contention for medals on the world stage in the male and female cadet compound and bow classes.
Pianca, who is Griffith’s reigning Sportsperson of the Year, is in white-hot form, having won the NSW title in the junior division and silver medal in the veterans at a state championship tournament on the weekend.
Pianca’s mother Cathy said her son has come a long way from the first time he picked up a bow and arrow at the Griffith PCYC.
“Sean seems to be pretty excited, as opposed to his family who are all getting quite nervous for him,” she said.
“The best part of this process is it will give Sean great exposure to the top archers and it will be a lesson on how to compete on the world stage.”
Junior co-ordinator for Archery NSW Steve Salmon said Pianca’s recent state titles were in a different format to the event in China, but it got him into competition mode nicely.
“Sean can contend on the world stage and he’s certainly in the running for a medal,” Salmon said.
“If he produces his best, he is a good chance to take out his class.”
Salvestro only turned 16 a few weeks ago, making her one of the youngest competitors in the cadet competition.
Unlike Pianca, she has shied away from competition in the lead up to the world titles to make sure her preparation is perfect.
Coach Ben Pawson said she had been training four hours a day, six days per week to give her the best chance she has at a medal.
“Generally Maddie’s just been lying low, preparing herself mentally, getting her equipment finely tuned and making sure she’s happy with it,” Pawson said.
“The nerves are just starting to creep in because we fly to China on Friday.
“But up until now, Maddie’s been more excited than nervous.
“Everything has come together nicely at the right time and now it will come down to her mental state at the competition.”
Pawson was very confident in Maddie’s talent and preparation but worried that the intensity of the one-on-one elimination format may break her concentration.