Invictus veteran Tomasulo graduates to world championship team

13 September 2017
Beijing (CHN)
The Invictus Games were created for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel.

Among the 114 athletes that competed in the first Invictus Games in London in 2014, there was one novice archer who stuck out.

Fabio Tomasulo, who went on to take the gold medal at the tournament, had technique unlike most of the new archers on the Invictus line. The Italian shoot smooth, he was focused – and he scored 545 out of 600 points for the 18-metre indoor round, 59 more than the man in second.

Fast forward three years and the Invictus veteran is no longer a novice. He’s a fully-fledged member of Italy’s national para archery team at the 2017 World Archery Championships in Beijing.

“This is my first event. I had one with the national team in Olbia for the European Cup but this is the big one,” explained Fabio.

“It’s amazing. A lot of people. Some people that I already know, that I already met at the Invictus Games. But it’s interesting. The level is very high.”

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Some people arrived at the Invictus Games in London having never picked up a bow before, took lessons from volunteers during practice and then went straight into competition. Fabio was one of the few novices who had come prepared.

“I was called by my military group and they said to me, ‘there is this opportunity to go to London, why don’t you try archery?’ Then, it all started.”

Tomasulo was taught by former Italian national coach Fabio Oliveiri.

“In just a few months, I was shooting quite well,” said Fabio. “After the medal and with the way I was shooting, I told myself let’s continue and see what happens.”

He shot at his second Invictus Games in Orlando and came third, this time in the open category rather than the novice.

His graduation to elite para archery athlete is complete with his first world championship cap in Beijing.

“If I continue with my way of shooting then probably I will remain in the team and have an opportunity to reach the cut for the next Paralympic Games,” he said.

“I was just watching the TV for the Paralympics [last year]. I didn’t imagine there would be the possibility to be here in the world championships, and I hope to go to the next Paralympics not as a spectator but as an athlete.”

Fabio serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Italian Air Force and works in the force’s sports centre. He lost his left leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident in 2007.

The 46-year-old practises two to three hours every day.

His ranking round at the 2017 World Archery Para Championships in Beijing, China yielded 600 points and a 20th seed, which helped the Italian recurve men’s open team to rank third.

It’s a good start, but Fabio would see that team climb the podium.

“This is my first level. Then, probably, there will be the possibility and if I improve myself, then hopefully the individual,” he added.

“You make some points in the beginning, then you arrive at a particular level where going up is not so easy. So, you have to practise a lot and have a good technique and so on.”

At 46 years of age, Tomasulo has embraced this new sport fully.

He’ll shoot at his third Invictus Games in Toronto, one week after the worlds finish in Beijing, and hopes to be in Sydney in 2018.

“It‘s wonderful to be here, to be again at the next Invictus Games. It‘s a new world for me and I want to continue.”

The 2017 World Archery Para Championships run 12-17 September in Beijing, China.