An Olympian Story

Elisa (daughter of second soprano Karina Barnard) took up archery in 2003 after attending a school camp and trying it out. Elisa was a little on the uncoordinated side at times; she was often the one to be patched up at birthday parties from accidents ranging from scraped knees to split chins. I thought swimming would be safe, except she almost split her head open misjudging the end of the pool while doing backstroke.

Her third broken toe resulted in the beginning of her archery career. She had an air boot on her foot for the April holidays soon after the school camp. I saw an ad for archery and as she had just tried it at camp and liked it, I thought she could manage this by hobbling out to the target to retrieve her arrows and hobbling back again. To my surprise, the coach spotted her talent, and the rest is history.

At her first State Championships at the age of 11, she broke the State Record; by the age of 12, she was an Australian Age Champion and competed in her first International event, the TransTasman winning this as well; at 13, the Australian coach selected Elisa for an AIS scholarship which she chose to do part-time for 3-4 years, as full-time would have taken her away from her academic goals.

Elisa attended Junior World Championships in 2008 and 2009 and was selected to train in Korea with the 2008 Australian Olympic Team prior to Beijing.

Elisa won the Australian Open in October 2011, and won the Oceania Championships in January this year which secured for Australia an individual female spot for the Olympics.

She continued to compete to claim this spot as her own, by placing 17th in the world at World Cup One in Shanghai in April. She followed this up at the moment that counted, by placing the highest of the three Australian females on the team, again 17th in the world, at World Cup 3, in the USA just weeks ago.

Elisa leaves for the London Olympics on the 17th July. It is the realisation of a dream that has been nine years in the making. (She is currently studying a double degree in Law/Psychology at Macquarie University, and deferred for one year to train for selection.)

Her sister has created a Facebook page which you can visit to wish Elisa well while she is over there. She is absolutely thrilled to be representing Australia.

The archery event is being held on the Lord’s Cricket Ground. This will be a historic moment as it is the first time the venue has been used for anything other than cricket.

Karina Barnard

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