It's not often that one gets the chance to compete in a national level championships. Rarer still is the opportunity to partake in two in the same week, fresh from the NFAS National 3D archery championships the following week saw the first ever UK Atlatl Championship. Steve and I have been using Atlatl's for around 6 years and during that time had been given permission by the World Atlatl Association to run the official UK championships, it has taken us a while to organise the first event and things came together this year.
I'm sure the question on your lips is what exactly is an Atlatl, well it is the name given to a number of similar hunting weapons developed independently across the world at various points in history. They first appeared in the Middle Paleolithic period in Europe, at various places, but rather fittingly in Clacton-on-Sea which is just a short dart throw away form the site of this years UK championships in Canterbury, Kent. The Atlatl, pronounced `At-latl` is a spear thrower, a small hand held launcher on which a 'dart' is attached, the user launches the dart using the upper arm and wrist. The technique is all important and it is this that gives the Atlatl it's awesome range and allowed women and children to become effective hunters. So effective is the weapon that the distance record is a very impressive 252 yards and the darts can travel at over 100km/h. The bow and arrow replaced the Atlatl in Europe during the Epi-Paleolithic period (10,000 years ago) but it still remained popular in Australia in the form of the Woomera and in the Americas, having crossed the Bering Land Bridge, travelling south and being a weapon used by the Aztecs. The word Atlatl is in fact from the Nahuatl language used by the Aztecs, they were the most recent civilisation to use the weapons widely and was common during the Spanish conquest of South America and it is here we have the most vivid picture of their practical use in Spanish literature.
For the UK Championships we adopted the ISAC rules rather than the European Round. You can look at the finer points of the rules but the basis is 5 throws each from 15 and 20 meters. The target face is similar to a large archery target and consists of 6 scoring zones, scoring X, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6. We had two targets available so could throw in pairs, each competitor taking their turn in name sequence. The field was a mix of abilities, whith some excellent competitors well versed in the arts of the Atlatl and the scores were racking up at a fair pace. After the first round it was close at the top with 3 people in the men's competition all tied on 38, the ladies competition was a little less open with a clear leader on 34.
We reset the throwing line as we went back to the second distance of 20 meters, to make things a little more exciting we ordered so that that those with the lowest scores from the first round were to throw first. The lead changed a number of times in both the mens and ladies competitions and it was only until the last few throws that a clear winner was found.
So it is with great honour we announce the medal winners.
Gents UK Atlatl Championship 2010
1st Steve Nicholson
2nd Steve Rand
Joint 3rd Richard Ashbee and Greg Holsworthy
Ladies UK Atlatl Championship 2010
1st Angela Holsworthy
2nd Caroline Harrison
3rd Jo Wall
Congratulations to all the winners.
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