Two Norfolk youngsters claim national archery crowns

Layla Annison and Joe Ground practice at Thorpe Hamlet Junior Archery Club. Layla Annison and Joe Ground practice at Thorpe Hamlet Junior Archery Club.

Monday, December 16, 2013
9:19 AM

Norfolk has two new junior national champions in the sport of archery.

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Layla Annison and Joe Ground practice at Thorpe Hamlet Junior Archery Club.Layla Annison and Joe Ground practice at Thorpe Hamlet Junior Archery Club.

Layla Annison and Joe Ground both shoot at Thorpe Hamlet Junior Archery Club, which meets at Angel Road Junior School in Norwich.

Both competed at the Archery GB National Championships at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Saturday and both fired themselves to victory in their age groups.

Hellesdon High School pupil Layla, 11, is in only her second full season, but won the Junior Ladies Under-12 Compound section.

And 15-year-old Joe, from Little Ellingham near Attleborough, won the Junior Gentlemen Under-16 Recurve title, as well as the regional recurve team title with the Southern Counties Archery Society, contributing 577 points to a total of 2,297.

It was a successful day for both archers, but it is Layla who has really bust onto the scene recently, with her father Chris, from the Mile Cross area of Norwich, explaining: “She started doing it on and off through an after-school club because Thorpe Hamlet Junior Archery Club were running some classes at Angel Road Junior when she used to go to school there.

“She liked it so we investigated from there and now she has gone to the club for the last couple of years and got her own bow for Christmas last year and has gone on from strength to strength this year.

“She’s been fantastic and the tip of the iceberg was the event in Coventry.”

Layla has become the Under-12 Southern Counties ladies champion, Under-14 Eastern Counties ladies champion, Under-12 ladies Norfolk champion and winner of the Archery GB Under-12 July National competition

She now has her sights set on trying to continue at the top of her age groups as she continues to learn her sport.

He father said: “She’s not had formal coaching really, she’s just got a natural flair for it really. She’s had people point her in the right direction but she just seems to have a natural affinity really.”

The compound bow that Layla uses takes a lot of the weight out of the bow’s tension to allow her to gain similar power to older archers.

She was a keen viewer of archery at the London 2012 Olympics and went down to the Olympic Park to watch the Paralympic women’s final between Team GB athletes Danielle Brown and Mel Clarke, in which Brown claimed the gold medal.

“She’s really keen to take it as far as she can get with it,” Mr Annison added. “It’s obviously early days and they don’t shoot Layla’s style at the Olympics currently, although they might do one day.”

Layla’s club-mate Joe, who attends Attleborough High School, is also continuing to build his reputation in the sport and continues to receive funding from Breckland District Council’s Gifted and Talented Fund.

He receives coaching from respected local archers Tom Barber and Andy Beer and also travels to Lilleshall once a month to train with the Archery GB squad.

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