A View Royal man who gave up his career as a chef to pursue his passion for archery will be heading to Italy this fall to represent Canada in the world championships.
Billy Sanderson took up archery in 1999 but saw it as little more than a fun hobby. However, just before the pandemic struck in 2020, he made the decision to change jobs to something which would allow him to spend more time training and competing, with the hope of accomplishing his dream of making the national team.
“It was just this warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart when I was shooting archery, and I thought ‘this is what I want to be doing more of,’” said Sanderson. “Once I knew I had made the team, I sort of sat back and had a look around, and had a little ‘dust in the eye’ moment by myself just realizing I had done it. I just made the team.”
Sanderson said the qualification process is usually spread out over two years of tournaments. This year, however, the tournament schedule was condensed into just a few months, not that it seemed to have any impact on his performance.
Leading up to the final qualifying tournament this month in Alberta, Sanderson earned gold, silver, and bronze medals in various local and provincial events, and even set three new national records in the process. But when the make or break match came, things didn’t start off as well as they should have.
“The first day, I was behind. I was shooting OK, but the long drive caught up to me and I was sort of out of contention,” he said. “I had a good sleep, and said ‘this is it.’ I shot really well the next morning, had one of the highest scores of the day, and ended up in third place which secured my spot on the team.”
Sanderson is now turning his attention to raising at least $6,000 to get to Italy and using his recent success to help promote the sport he fell in love with on Vancouver Island.
He hopes his success will show other local archers that they too can achieve success beyond their local clubs, even if at times it can feel like they are isolated here on the Island.
“There are all sorts of local clubs that put on great shoots on the Island. I go out and I’m supporting them all the time, and they are all very supportive of me knowing that there is a local shooter that visits them for fun shoots on the weekend who is now going to compete on the world stage in Italy,” he said.
Sanderson has launched an online crowdfunding campaign (bit.ly/3OpwIad) and said any contribution to help him make the trip to Italy is greatly appreciated.