Week 77 (21 - 27 March 2015)
This week we have seen the rewards of World Archery's long-term communications strategy at a perfect time for the sport with 500 days to go until Rio 2016. World Archery has been pushing a more proactive and engaging communications agenda under Uğur Erdener's visionary leadership since he was elected president in 2005 and this has now distilled throughout the sport, empowering federations and stakeholders to be bold with their communications. Erdener has set the conditions and established a fruitful platform for national federations to communicate innovatively with fans, which has facilitated the sport's ever growing profile.
This was showcased brilliantly this week with two enlightening stories by Reuters about archery in Brazil. The first involved an interview with "Archery's Neymar" who is hoping to achieve medal success next summer at his home Olympic Games. Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida, who is only 17–years–old, is already a prominent name in archery having finished second in the archery World Cup final last year where he was the youngest person ever to qualify for the competition. Despite his young age, he spoke with maturity and self-assurance as he outlined his ambitions: "My dream is a gold medal; I think all Brazilian athletes dream of that. We work hard every day to see what we can do about it," he said.
D'Almeida's rapid rise to the top is testament to the work of the Brazilian Archery Confederation as well as World Archery, which has instilled the confidence in its members to nurture the development of young archers.
Hoping to join D'Almeida and represent Brazil in archery at the Rio 2016 Games is 18-year-old Dream Braga, an indigenous Brazilian who grew up shooting fish with a bow and arrow in his native Amazonian village.
Braga is not letting his humble beginnings hold him back though and is one of seven indigenous youngsters selected for their archery skills through a programme aiming to get them competing for Brazil.
He communicated his goal with determination by stating: "It might not be 2016, but there is 2020, 2024, 2028. There are lots of Olympics in the future and I hope to be at one of them representing Brazil." He was clear in his commitment to Brazilian archery and this was even more significant considering it was his first international interview.
Both interviews showcase how effective and efficient communication can engage and inspire people to take up sport regardless of their background. World Archery has established a reputation for this and is also using the popularity of The Hunger Games to engage with new fans as a shift in perception amongst the younger generation takes hold.