Interview with UP archer: Shaun Anderson

Marren Mckay

Shaun Anderson, also known as “The One-Armed Bandit”, has competed at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Commonwealth Games, IFA and numerous other note-worthy events. In the last few years, Anderson has overcome losing an arm and was also paralyzed from the waist down in October, 2017. However, he refuses to let that slow him down and he continuously strives for greatness. When asked who inspires him, Anderson immediately mentions Francois Pienaar, retired Springbok captain, known as the man who brought the team together.

John Stubbs, a disabled English Archer and an athlete Anderson competed against overseas, is another inspiration to him. Anderson goes on to say that he looks up to his coach and draws inspiration from his family as well. Anderson is currently training for the 2020 Paralympics and follows a vigorous training regime in order to ensure that he is prepared. He trains six days a week starting at 07:00 and he only finishes as late as four in the afternoon. During this time Anderson shoots anything from 100 to 300 arrows at the range, and aims to do three 720s every week. When he is not training, he coaches, saying that teaching children is one of his personal passions. Anderson, inspired by his son’s interest in archery, shot his first arrow about six years ago.

Despite everyone else’s misgivings, Anderson turned these cannots into cans and took up the sport. Compensating for the fact that he has only one arm, Anderson decided to shoot with his mouth. The side effect of this was enlarged neck muscles but he has started wearing a brace to counter act this. All of his equipment is sponsored, and he enjoys tremendous support from family members, sponsors and coaches. He noted that he is most fortunate to have UP by his side supporting him and he will always be proud to represent UP. Anderson’s advice to anyone going through hardships and with hurdles to cross is to stay positive, always believe in themselves, and when times get tough, to talk to someone. “Never give up on yourself, because that’s when the hurdles become real obstacles.” Anderson is now working towards a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, saying that even though he’s still trying to understand his body and adapting to his new way of life, he is more motivated than ever to make South Africa proud.

 

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