North East Connected

Date: 18th July 2022 Brothers bring home two national golds

Brothers Johnny and Bert Smart have both won Gold at a National Archery competition.  Twelve-year-old Bert and sixteen-year-old Johnny, Year 7 and 12 students at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, competed in the Junior National Outdoor Archery Championships at Lilleshall and took top honours in the Under 14 Boys Compound and Under 18 Boys Recurve competitions.

Bert took up archery in 2018 and was one of the youngest in his category.   He competed in the Bristol III round at 50, 40 and 30 yards with a compound bow, a bow style that he has only been shooting since September 2021.  Bert had spent the previous week doing drills and exercises to prepare for his first national competition and his impressive performance enabled him to scoop first place.

At just 16, Johnny was ranked number one in the country in the Under 18 category at the end of last season. He normally trains three times each week, as well as doing weight training and conditioning, however as he had recently had exams at college he had limited shooting practice before the event. However, demonstrating his resilience and commitment, he competed in the Bristol I round at 80, 60 and 50yds distances. His standard was exceptional from the start and he maintained his composure to win Gold.

The competition was a full-day event with both Johnny and Bert shooting six dozen arrows at the longest distance before lunch and then four dozen at the middle distance and two dozen at the shortest distance in the afternoon.

Johnny has been a keen archer since 2016 and is a member of the Thirsk Bowmen Archery club. His discipline is recurve, the Olympic style of archery, and he shoots for Thirsk Bowmen in individual competitions and represents Yorkshire in team events.  Johnny said: “I am over the moon to win Gold at this national competition. The timing wasn’t great as it fell immediately after my exams so I wasn’t able to devote as much time to preparation as I would normally. However, perhaps this made me feel less under pressure as I wasn’t going in with such high expectations. I will continue to train as much as I can to maintain my standing to ensure I am at the highest level when Team GB make their next selection.”

Johnny and Bert’s coach, Danny Cameron, who is based at Thirsk Bowmen, commented: “Excelling in the sport of archery is a combination of mental and physical mastery. Both Johnny and Bert understand and work hard to develop these skills, and to succeed at this level also shows immense resilience.”

Jenna Potter, Headteacher, said: “This is tremendous news for Bert and Johnny. It really demonstrates how dedicated they are to their sport and how determined they are to excel. It is wonderful to hear that they both have another year in their year groups so I will watch with great interest how they progress in the coming year.”

To find out more about Thirsk Bowmen visit A beginner’s course is offered, further details can be found at

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