Teenager Carl Jones may be a relative newcomer to the sport of archery but he’s making his mark – and in impressive style.
The 18-year-old notched up an epic three gold medals at the recent 2017 National Championships against the best in New Zealand. He also holds 11 New Zealand records and two world records.
His latest success qualifies him for the World 3D Championships in France later this year which he’s unsure if he can attend due to limited finances. He is also aiming to compete at the Youth World Target Championships in Argentina in October – again finances permitting.
Despite such outstanding achievements, the fact the sport is so low profile, attracting virtually zero corporate interest or sponsors, adds another hurdle to his continued success.
The modern day archer took up the sport just five years ago and looks to be on the right track to achieve his long-term goal of competing professionally. After moving from Cambridge to Tirau, getting to regular sports trainings for baseball and football became an issue, so Carl set about finding something he could train for at home.
The result was archery. After kitting himself out with some basic gear, Carl set off for his first competition, unaware it was a national event – where he set his first New Zealand record.
The ultimate quiet achiever, he trains and competes for his sport with no support team or coach around him – just quietly and consistently plugging away at his training and goals from home.
He now works at a local supermarket trying to support himself through his sport – but despite the hardships insists he is still just as driven to succeed and win.
Fitness Journal finds out more…
Name: Carl Jones
High school attended? Cambridge High School
I would like to compete as a part-time pro on the USA circuit, as well as holding a steady job.
How did you get involved in the sport?
I first became interested in archery when we moved out of town five years ago. At the time I was playing baseball and football, while attending my first year at Cambridge High School. I attended my first major New Zealand tournament in 2012, a year after I began and ended up placing first and equalling a NZ record. From then on, I was hooked.
What is your greatest successes to date?
Becoming the 2015 World IFAA Bowhunter Champion.
What motivates you?
I strive for perfection. In almost every sport there is someone who even the best athletes look up to. I want to be that guy.
What is your greatest challenge?
The ability to keep self-composed under difficult and stressful times.
Who is your team?
I don’t have a coach or training partners, but I am fortunate to have support from Daniella Meier at Pathway to Podium, the team at High Performance Sport NZ and Alison Storey from Storey Sport.
What does the sport involve in terms of training?
Archery is a sport that involves a lot of constant repetition, and when you are shooting that many arrows, if you are not physically strong enough, fatigue can easily set in. My training plan is of low intensity at high reps, as well as shooting around four times as many arrows as I would do in competitions. This ensures that I am physically strong enough to compete at a high level, and then it just comes down to the mental aspects.
What gives you the most pleasure?
I had a blank wall when I started archery. I now have a complete room devoted to my awards with World Championships and records filling it. That is my pleasure, to come home after maybe I’ve had a bad tournament and feeling a bit down; I can then look at that wall as a reminder of what I have done. Those achievements have taken others more than 20-plus years and I was able to do them in five. To me, that is something special.
What are your long-term goals?
To be able to compete as a pro in the USA tournament circuit. This requires lots of money.
Was there a time when you thought of giving up?
Honestly, I have yet to have that experience but I did have an ex-coach who pretty much told me that I was worthless and I would never be good enough. I turned that around pretty quickly and if anything I used it as fuel for motivation J
List five things about your sport people would be surprised to know?
It’s not just a stick and string! In an average tournament I would pull a total of more than 4000kgs. There are multiple types of archery (not just what you see at the Olympics).
Where are your favourite local spots to train and why?
At home, with loud music and where I can just do my own thing.
Where in the world do you want to train/compete?
USA – the land of opportunity.
Are you involved in other sports?
No other sports as archery is all year round.
Who inspires you and why?
I have yet to find someone who inspires me, at least someone who has changed the way I do something or my perspective.
What advice would you give to others wanting to have a go?
Just do it, what do you have to lose?