Swede Bjorklund on hunt for third world barebow title

5 September 2018
Cortina (ITA)
The Swedish archer has medalled at each of the three World Archery Field Championships she has competed.

Thirty-eight-year-old Lina Bjorklund is one of Sweden’s – and the world’s – best barebow archers.

A field archer since she started the sport back in 1991, the two-time world champion is shooting at the 2018 World Archery Field Championships in Cortina, Italy, where she’ll try to bring her tally up to three.

“As I say every time, I want to win. I won in Val D’Isere in 2012, in Zagreb in 2014 and unfortunately in Dublin in 2016, I got third place,” said Lina. “I wanted to win three times in a row but it didn’t happen, so I’m confident to win here [in Cortina].”

In Val D’Isere and Zagreb, she beat Italians Eleonora Strobbe and then Cinzia Noziglia to gold. In Dublin, she beat Japan’s Maruyama Miyuki to bronze.

Ever since Lina picked up a bow, it was with the barebow that she felt most comfortable with. She tried recurve for fun, the compound with no results and most recently, during the winter, a longbow – with which she set a new Swedish national record.

Her decision to give the longbow a chance, a bow she describes as a “tougher”, is due to suffering from multiple sclerosis. It got worse when she got pregnant with her third child, Alma, who’s now seven months old – and watching Lina and partner Erik Jonsson in Cortina.

“I got sick. I got numb, so I couldn’t feel. When someone was touching my skin, I couldn’t feel it. I’ve got the same now but not as much as when I was pregnant,” she explained.

“When I was pregnant I was wobbling, I lost my balance, I didn’t have the strength and I couldn’t shoot barebow because my fingers could just go off like if I was having target panic, which I don’t.”

Lina is a skilled archer through and through.

She’s got strong technique, solid distance judging skills across the ground and the analytical mind to react to each arrow, with the purpose of improving the next.

“If you do a bad shot or don’t get high results as you wanted, you have to understand you can always make it better in the next target, and that’s probably what I like about field archery. One course is never the same as the other and there’s always a chance. There’s huge variation,” she said.

“Sometimes you shoot a simple round and get good scores but others do so as well; so just because it’s an easy course it doesn’t mean that you’ll be first, because you’ll also have some competition, as well.”

Spending her time between the family she has with reigning barebow men’s World Archery Field Champion Jonsson and her job as a teacher, Lina was honest about not spending more than two or three hours per week training.

“They say I did my homework when I was little and this is why it works for me without much practise,” she said. She does shoot more ahead of a big competition.

Whatever number of arrows she put through her bow prior to Cortina – Lina’s expectations for the tournament are high.

“As a person, I don’t have much self-esteem,” she admitted. “But when it comes to barebow, I know I’m good and I want to show others that I am.”

Lina’s already proved that. She’s one of just seven barebow women – with Eunie Schewe, Annie Dardenne, Giuseppina Meini, Odile Boussiere and Trish Lovell – to have collected two world field titles.

Nobody’s yet won three. 

The 2018 World Archery Field Championships takes place in Cortina, Italy on 4-9 September.