Karen Hultzer is the oldest South African competitor at the Olympic Games at the age of 46. She hails from Muizenberg where she runs a landscaping business. Karen only started her chosen sport (archery) 5 years ago and is one of the least known South African competitors.
Karen has always been sporty however and earned provincial colours in 5 disciplines – hockey, squash, softball, sailing and horseriding! A motorbike accident 15 years ago put an end to these sports but driving to work every day she went past the archery range in Retreat and decided to give it a try.
Until a few months ago she had no coach and learnt most of her skills from watching YouTube videos! She was entirely self-funded and even cut her own arrows and made her own strings as archery equipment can be fairly expensive!
She competed in her first national championships just one year after picking up her bow and arrow, and in 2009 earned her Springbok colours.
Recurve Archery: 2012 London Olympics
Karen competes in the Olympic Discipline of Recurve Archery. (A recurve bow is distinctive as the limbs curve outwards at the top). The object of the sport is simple – to shoot arrows as close to the centre of the target as possible. The target is 122cm in diameter with a gold ring in the centre which measures 12.2 cm. Female archers shoot at the target from a distance of 70metres. The competition is played in a head-to-head elimination format.
How the competition works:
It starts with a ranking round today (Friday 27 July 2012) and is the first event of the London Olympic Games. The 64 men will shoot their round, and then the 64 women will shoot in the afternoon. There will be three archers per buttress, and all will shoot 72 arrows at 70m shooting six arrows at a time, normally with a shot break halfway. The target is divided into 10 rings the value of which decreases by 1 point as you get further away from the centre. 10 being the top score for the centre ring, so a full score would be 720 points. The women’s record is 682 and the mens’ is 696. It will probably take three hours for each session (men and women) The scores are then listed and decide the pairing for the eliminations – the top ranking shooting against the lower rankings. Karen’s personal best is 638 which is a South African record.
Did you know?
- The archery competition is being held at Lord’s cricket ground in front of crowds of 6,500.
- Individual matches are played over the best of five sets, with each set consisting of three arrows per archer.
- Team matches have three archers competing against each other in a best-of-24-arrows format.
- South Korea’s archers have topped the medal table at each of the last six Olympic Games, winning 15 gold medals in that time.
- There are four medal events with 128 archers taking part.
Cape Point Route sends best wishes to Karen Hultzer and Team SA at the 2012 London Olympics. You can follow Karen on twitter: @karenhultzer
Cape Point Route offers day tours, packages, accommodation, activities and car hire in Cape Town’s south peninsula in addition to teambuilding events in Cape Town. Call 021 782 9356or visit www.capepointroute.co.za