After the second and final day of competition at the 2019 State Games of America, St. Thomian Anne Abernathy and Crucian Bruce Arnold have both won gold medals in their respective divisions at this biennial event. Abernathy competed in the Master Female division and Arnold as a Male Senior (open category).
Both archers had to qualify to compete in the State Games. Abernathy has a lifetime qualification because she won the Female Masters 60+ category at the 2017 Games, held in Grand Rapids, Mich., while Arnold had to win the 2018 Alabama State Games held in Huntsville, Ala., in order to punch his ticket. By winning gold, Arnold now also has the same lifetime qualification exemption as Abernathy.
Abernathy has held the lead in her division from the opening end of arrows and never relinquished it. Arnold, on the other hand, was behind by 13 points after 90-meter scoring had wrapped up on Saturday. Aug. 3; he managed to take the lead after the first end of arrows at 70 meters and never looked back. En route to his victory, Arnold set Virgin Islands records at 90, 50 and 30 meters as well as the overall record for a full FITA/WA1440 round. Arnold now also holds the record for a full FITA at the State Games — the format adopted by the organizers in order to make the competition more challenging beginning in 2017.
Excited about the successes of the archers, Virgin Islands Archery Federation President Kevin D’Amour saw these medals as part of a larger plan to move USVI archery forward. “Last year, the VIAF set as one of its goals to field athletes who were competitive with the best national and international archers–after a lot of hard work by both the competitors and coaches, we’re seeing the tangible results of this prioritization.”
From Lynchburg, Abernathy will proceed on to Tucson, Ariz., where she will work with Olympic coach Alexander Kirillov before she travels to Maricá, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, beginning on Oct. 1 for a world ranking event in which she hopes to make the minimum Olympic-qualifying score of 605. She needs this score in order to be eligible to receive a bid to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Arnold will travel to Dublin, Ohio, where he will represent the Virgin Islands at the USA Archery National Championships/U.S. Open, which will begin on Thursday, Aug. 15. Although, as a Virgin Islander, he is not eligible to win the U.S. National Championship, he is able to compete for the U.S. Open title. He is also competing in the open mixed team round with a protogee of multi-Olympic medalist Richard “Butch” Johnson, Elizabeth Dickerson and in the male team round with Dr. Ali Gungoraydinoglu, a former member of the Turkish National Team, and Brandon Spray, a former member of the U.S. Archery Team
The States Games of American is an Olympic-style series of competitions in which individuals must qualify to represent their home state or territory. Over 14,000 athletes are registered for the State Games, from every state, Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands.
Those wishing to learn more about the 2019 State Games of America can do so at http://stategamesofamerica.com/ Those wishing to follow the scores of the athletes and find updates and photos can do so on the VIAF’s facebook, which is open for public viewing: https://www.facebook.com/VIArchery