The University of Sunderland archery club is celebrating after a record number of budding archers signed up at freshers fayre – just five years since the club was re-established.
Over 330 students declared an interest with the club this year, with 90 attending the first session of the term.
The current club was set up in 2010 after the previous club folded – ironically – due to lack of interest and club vice president Gayle Rigg says the increase is nothing new.
“The current club has been one of the most popular at the university over the past four years. The number of signups [this year] has been much higher than in previous years.
“Archery as a sport has increased in popularity nationally with more and more people than ever taking up the sport. London 2012 has had a part to play in this rise as well as recent film and media portrayals.”
Rigg, who is standing in as acting president ahead of upcoming committee elections, says that although media coverage has started the nationwide trend, it’s something that is attracting newcomers to the sport.
“A lot of people who didn’t know much about the sport previously are now interested in trying it out and taking it up long term.”
The effects are also being felt on Teesside, with Sunderland’s Varsity opponents setting up their own club in the last couple of years – a move that is not only important in terms of Varsity pride, but – as Grigg says – for the sport.
“We don’t get the opportunity to compete in Clash of the Minsters [with York St John] but with Teesside setting up a club we can compete in the Tees-Wear varsity.
“We also continue to have good relationships with lots of local university clubs like Newcastle and Durham and it helps the growth of Archery continue.”
It’s a big year for the University archery club which will see them host the North of England University Archery League (NEUAL) Novice Championships, an award won last year by Sunderland’s Emma Boxer.