From left to right: Switching bow hands
The last time we saw Ella competing internationally, she was shooting left-handed.
In Yankton, the release aid was in her right hand.
As a leftie, Ella shot at two World Archery Youth Championships and, in 2013, two stages of the Archery World Cup circuit. She’s been in the top 10 of most of the competitions she’s shot in.
Her best performance, to date, was bronze at the world youth championships in Legnica in 2011. She beat Bairma Dylykova – who has not been seen since – in her last match, 140-132.
Two years later she was in Wuxi, and two months after that – in December 2013 – Ella’s coach suggested a change: Switch to right-handed.
Neither of them, Ella or her coach, knew if it was the right thing to do. But they tried it nonetheless.
“It was a massive change,” Ella admitted. “My coach decided I needed to be right-handed but we didn’t know if it was going to work.
Another two years on, the switch is returning dividends.
“Luckily, it’s going pretty well – even if it is still a bit tricky.”
To get in form, Ella combined a lot of gym work, coordination practice and arrows out of the bow – as well as her university studies. Happy with the results so far, Ella is aware she still needs more training to reach the top positions again.
“This youth world champs are really more training for me to get back into the swing of international tournaments,” explained Ella, smiling. “I haven’t been to one for the last two years – and the senior worlds are coming up.
“I still feel quite nervous to be back, though.”
Ella ranked 30th over qualification at the Yankton 2015 World Archery Youth Championships.
Here’s what else we watched on ranking round day:
China, who finally arrived at 4am in the morning after a terrible journey, had to shoot junior ranking rounds first thing in the morning. Their equipment was already in Yankton, but the round was a struggle.
The cadets had a better rest and it showed on the field: Li Xinxin seeded third in the recurve girls’ event.
The heat hit highs of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 Celsius during the day. Shade and water was a necessity.
Four new team world records on the day: The morning saw compound junior women and recurve junior men squads set world-best marks, while the Korean recurve cadets – girls and boys – had big new top scores in the afternoon.