Tokyo medallist trains aspiring archers at Rotary Games

A challenge which has been a fixture in the Humber region’s disabled sports calendar for more than 35 years attracted 150 participants aged from nine to 91 to show their skills in events including shooting, archery and table tennis.

Tokyo archery medallist Victoria with participants at the Rotary Games held at Hymers College in Hull.

A guest of honour at the Rotary Games was Tokyo Paralympics bronze medallist Victoria Rumary, who comes from Kirton-in-Lindsey and has been involved in the event for about seven years.

Victoria revealed she now has her sights set on winning a place in the England team for the next Commonwealth Games but she took a break from her own schedule to inspire and encourage others.

She said: “I’ve been coming to this event since the last time it was held in Scunthorpe in 2017. I provide a bit of coaching and I help to present the trophies afterwards. It’s an amazing event and it’s great to see how excited everybody is.”

The Games were originally part of a national competition and are now organised by the 11 Rotary Clubs which form the Humber Maritime Group.

Derek Kirby, chair of the organising team, said: “The national event faded away but we kept going because everybody involved absolutely loves it. We have attracted 150 participants from as far afield as Louth and Barnsley and across Hull and East Yorkshire.”

“The Games are open to anybody aged from nine upwards who has a disability. The oldest this year was a 91-year-old man. We find the participants through our contacts with disability groups.”

Hymers College in Hull is the main Games centre and opens up its facilities to host sports including table tennis, archery, rifle shooting, weightlifting, swimming, darts, new age kurling and boccia. Support also comes from the East Park Archers, students at Hymers, White Rose Shooting Club, Tradewell Snooker Club, which is registered with World Disability Billiards and Snooker, and Allan Hughes, a qualified instructor for disabled weightlifting.

Local businesses provide donations, sponsorship and in-kind support and Hull’s MPs stepped up this year to raise awareness of the event and to be put through their paces. Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, was on target in the shooting and archery.

She said: “I did very well in both challenges and I surprised myself a bit, but while that was pleasing for me I was just delighted to see so many people coming together for an event which is a great celebration of what people can achieve.

“It gives people a chance to try sporting activities which many of them would never normally get the chance to experience, and with young people getting coaching from someone like Victoria who knows where it might lead?”

Derek added: “Every year is a major challenge. We could accommodate 250 people but despite being certain that there are numerous disabled people in the region would benefit from and enjoy the events we have found it difficult to identify and make contact with the relevant organisations and groups.

“The event used to move around the Humber region but it’s been based here since 2018. Hymers College has been fantastic. It’s got the ideal layout for the sports we offer and it is perfect for people who have restricted mobility.

“The participants take the activities very seriously but it’s a social event as much as a sporting challenge. They love seeing each other again and they are high-fiving as soon as they arrive.”