Home archery Odette Victor’s journey from casual shooter to national spotlight

Odette Victor’s journey from casual shooter to national spotlight

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For Odette Victor, what initially started as a casual fascination with the sport merely a year ago has evolved into an incredible odyssey onto the national platform, characterised by resilience, unwavering family backing, and an unyielding quest for perfection.

Odette Victor is seen standing by one of the animals where she made a perfect shot in the centre during the South African National event. Picture: Supplied

In the realm of archery, dedication, passion, and precision harmonise effortlessly, weaving narratives of impressive growth and unforeseen accomplishments.

For Odette Victor, what initially started as a casual fascination with the sport merely a year ago has evolved into an incredible odyssey onto the national platform, characterised by resilience, unwavering family backing, and an unyielding quest for perfection.

Odette has transformed into a dedicated archer whose journey in the sport began back in 2021 when her husband purchased bows for him and their son. Little did she know that picking up her son’s bow one day would spark an enduring passion for archery, a sport that would soon become an integral part of her and her family’s life.

However, it wasn’t until April 2023 that Odette’s archery journey took a significant turn. Seeking to refine her skills, she enlisted the coaching expertise of John Filmalter. Through weekly sessions and intense weekend practices, her focus shifted towards improving her draw weight—an impressive leap from 25 to 40 pounds—while meticulously refining her shooting form.

Although this intensive training marked a steep learning curve, the milestones of enhanced accuracy served as motivating indicators of progress.

Her dedication to archery goes beyond personal pursuit; it’s a cherished family activity shared with her husband, Danie, and their son, Hennie. The love for the sport deeply permeates their household, fostering not only individual growth but also bonding over a shared passion.

The turning point came with an invitation to the nationals as part of the invitational team, revealing that she unexpectedly ranked in the top 10. The realisation of her standing in the rankings, especially after just a few competitions, was both surprising and validating.

The pivotal moment during the nationals unfolded in a shootout where Victor found herself tied with Celeste Pelser, both scoring 363 out of 440. Faced with nerves and just 60 seconds to take her shot, she leaned on the advice from her coach, John, securing a remarkable second place in the FHCA (Female Hunter Class Aided) with a shot closest to the 11-ring.

Reflecting on her journey, Victor emphasized the significance of preparation and perseverance. Challenges, including equipment glitches on the first day, were overcome through prior practice, allowing her to swiftly adapt. The perfect conditions on the following day highlighted the symbiotic relationship between an archer and their bow.

Throughout the competition, Victor adhered to her routine, intertwining spiritual grounding through morning prayers with physical readiness — hydration, rest, and nourishment — essential for maintaining focus and energy.

Her advice to aspiring archers echoes wisdom earned through experience: cultivate passion, trust equipment unequivocally, and finalise setup well before any event. Her philosophy of setting incremental goals and learning from mistakes reflects a growth mindset and unwavering determination.

While the nationals marked an unforeseen accomplishment, Victor has already set her sights on future goals, aiming for provincial colours in the upcoming year. Her approach to setting achievable milestones paves the way for higher aspirations, aspiring towards national colours with faith and determination.

In the midst of Victor’s remarkable journey at the nationals, the event also showcased outstanding performances from other top-achieving archers hailing from the Northern Cape. Among them, Renita Foure secured an impressive 2nd place in the Female Hunter Class Unaided category, showcasing exceptional skill.

Adding to the region’s success was Ardu Foure, clinching 3rd place in the male youth release category for ages 12 to 15 years. His achievement underscores the talent and commitment thriving within the Northern Cape’s archery community.

Victor’s journey in archery is not merely about individual achievement but a testament to the power of dedication, family support, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. As she sets her eyes on new horizons, her story stands as an inspiration for aspiring archers and a celebration of the enduring spirit of sport.

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