Para athlete Gints Jonasts double bowing at world para championships
Gints Jonasts travelled all the way from Latvia to ’s-Hertogenbosch to attend the 2019 World Archery Para Championships on 3-9 June. It’s not his first time at such a major event – this is his fifth appearance at the para worlds – but it is the first time he’ll compete in two different categories at the same international tournament.
“I’ve been shooting recurve for the past 14 years. I normally get to shoot in the mixed team competition, we get good results and it’s important for my country – but I wanted a change and that’s why I started to shoot with the compound as well. I love compound and I enjoy shooting it,” said Gints.
It’s only been six months since Gints started shooting compound, having been a recurve archer since he first started taking the sport seriously in 2005.
Gints has limited mobility in his legs – which began at a very young age. Archery was his choice of sport because of its inherent inclusivity.
“We can shoot in both the para and able-bodied events, which talks about equality in sport, which I think it’s important,” he explained.
Gints is well aware that delivering results with both bows in the Netherlands won’t be easy – but he’s committed to doing as much as he can with the quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on the line:
“I want to qualify with both bows, I would love to do that!”
The Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 were the first that the Latvian archer attended, and he liked it. Gints finished 17th individually and ninth in the mixed team competition.
There may come a point in Den Bosch where he has to decide whether to prioritise the bow with which he had his previous Paralympic experience – or his new equipment. Recurve and compound eliminations will take place at the same time at this tournament.
“I have already decided that if I do well [in qualification] with both bows, I will shoot the compound individually and recurve in the mixed team,” he said.
“But we’ll see how difficult or easy it is to shoot both and the results since I have only been shooting with the compound bow for about six months. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it at an important competition like this where the level is very high.”
Over the last decade, Gints has missed only one World Archery Para Championships, the last in Beijing. He’s never finished outside the top 20 – and, even when he’s home and working in his flower shop, he’s committed to the sport he loves.
“Archery is a lifestyle, I’m always practising, competing or thinking about archery,” he said. “Even when I’m not shooting, I still think about it.”
The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June and World Archery Para Championships on 3-9 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.