Behind the scenes with World Archery event staff
Dutch Olympian Sjef Van den Berg visited the World Archery Field Championships in Dublin, Ireland not with his bow – but with his camera. While taking snaps in the woods during competition he had the chance to see behind the scenes at the team behind the tournament.
From full-time directors based at World Archery’s Lausanne headquarters to contractors and freelances from all five continents, an event team is picked to suit whatever job is necessary. Here’s Sjef’s introduction to five of them.
1. Chris Marsh
World Archery events director Chris Marsh started archery at age 13 knowing it was something he always wanted to do. He fell in love with the sport while watching the British Olympic team training close to where he lived in England.
In 2009, he took the job as competition manager for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, and after that, World Archery hired him as events manager before promoting him to director.
“My responsibility is to find local organisers to host the different archery events. I work with the cities, archery associations or member associations to coach and guide them to make sure that the competition is delivered to the standards that we require and that the archers are put first,” said Chris.
“I also have a supportive role in the office, helping out with general administration, development of the sport in different countries. I also work on multisport events like the World Games, Continental Games, and Olympic and Paralympic Games, where I advise the event owners on how to deliver the archery competitions.”
2. Chris Wells
The younger Chris on the team or ‘Welly’, as his colleagues call him, first tried archery when he was only six years old at his primary school. At age 13, he bought a collection of equipment, went to a club, and started from there.
“When I was a bit older, not much though, I sent articles into an archery magazine and they started to publish them. After school, I started writing for a couple more sports, and on a couple of different subjects. I carried on writing, then started learning design and web-based technology,” he said.
“I became World Archery’s communications manager in 2014. I’m responsible for most of the news, articles, pictures, videos, and social media posts. I work so archers and non-archers around the world can follow the competition.”
3. Matteo Pisani
Matteo Pisani started archery in 1988 after watching the Robin Hood movie. (Just like many of you, right?)
While watching a competition at his hometown in Italy, which Simon Fairweather won, Teo got curious about the scoring system. As it was ran manually back then, and as a passionate computer programmer, he was quickly inspired to start developing archery software: Ianseo was born. He first got involved with the Italian federation and then with World Archery.
“My main task is to setup the whole infrastructure for the tournament. That means providing an internet connection and a steady network connection between the different World Archery departments and locations such offices, accreditation booth, results team and many more.”
“Once this is ready, we turn to results. It involves a lot of preparation to get the results on the internet as quickly as possible for people on the field and for those who follow online to see.”
4. Dean Alberga
Deaneman, as he’s known in the archery family, is based in the Netherlands. He’s originally from Suriname, a small South American country, where he got the chance to try archery in 1989 while he was on summer holidays.
“I saw archery on television the previous year at the Olympics in Seoul. It caught my eye and got me interested. When I got back home [to the Netherlands] after my holiday, I registered at a club and started shooting,” said Dean.
“I was lucky enough to be in Vegas in 2006, back when there weren’t so many photographers. Magnus Petersson won the recurve division but there were no photos to be found, I sent World Archery some photos that I’d taken and asked if they wanted to use them. They liked the photo set and, with the Archery World Cup circuit about to start, asked me if I wanted to take photos at a couple of the stages.”
“I’ve only ever missed one World Cup event since then.”
5. Fernando Suarez
Fernando Suarez is well-known in the archery world for his hashtag: #FernandoSelfie. At the end of every event, he collects the team for a social media snap.
Always running around and fixing things, he greases the wheel of the event, allowing it to run smoothly. Probably the most difficult member staff to catch, Fernando said he takes between 10 to 15 thousand steps a day.
“On events like this [the world field], I run around and try to fix all of the problems, helping out wherever help is needed – but it’s never the same,” he said. “It’s a very open concept of a job description. Everything that needs to happen needs to happen at that very moment.”