A KIRKCALDY teenager was bang on target as she landed the title of UK & Ireland junior archery champion.
Claire Noonan (14), who represents Forest Spirit Archers, based near Thornton, won the junior female freestyle unlimited field archery competition held at Bury St Edmunds.
Her success was remarkable as she’s only been involved in the sport for 18 months and was competing against many older archers who have had several years of experience.
Claire’s delighted coach Ian Bolton said: “I couldn’t get down to see her in the competition because I was on holiday, but when I heard the results it really made my weekend.
“Claire has only been involved in archery for a short time but she’s a very quick learner and is very clever. It’s a very technical sport but she has a great ability for picking things up. It’s a pleasure to coach her.
‘‘You go through something with her once and it stays with her. She puts a lot of her time into it and is extremely dedicated.”
The junior competition is open to archers aged 13 to 17, with champions at major tournaments usually coming from the older end of the age group.
“It’s unusual for someone so young to win the UK & Ireland title,” said Ian. “She’s a credit to the club.”
Claire, who competes using a compound bow, has enjoyed success at other major competitions, and is currently the Scottish junior champion both indoors and outdoors. However, winning the UK & Ireland title is another step up.
Mum Michelle said: “It was absolutely fantastic. We were all delighted. She’s worked really hard for this and deserves her success.
“She usually trains on a Wednesday night each week, but when there’s a major competition coming up, she’s practising two or three times a week.
“Everyone in the club is so supportive and her coach has really helped her to improve. We’re very grateful to Ian.”
Michelle revealed Claire took up archery after trying out the sport while on holiday.
“We were on a Haven holiday at Craig Tara Holiday Park in Ayrshire where they have various activities and Claire got the chance to try archery,” said her mum.
“She absolutely loved it, so she joined the Forest Spirit Archers when we returned home it’s all progressed from there.”
Claire, a pupil at St Andrew’s High School, spends most weekends from March to September involved in competitions.
Her next major event will be at the end of August when she will defend her outdoor title at the Scottish Championships.