St. Thomian Anne Abernathy and Crucian Bruce Arnold will represent the Virgin Islands in archery at the 2019 State Games of America, beginning on Aug. 3 in Lynchburg, Va. The games are a biennial, nation-wide competition similar to the Olympics in which athletes must qualify to represent their home state or territory.
Abernathy has an automatic qualification due to status as reigning Masters 60+ gold medalist, which she earned at the last games held in 2017 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Since the USVI does not have its own Territorial Games, Arnold qualified last year by winning the Male Senior (open) division at the State Games of Alabama held in Huntsville. Both archers are coming off of impressive recent performances at the 2019 Archery World Championships held in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
Currently, there are over 5,000 athletes registered for the games from 45 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but it is believed over 14,000 will eventually compete as states finalize their entries. This is the 11th time the 2019 State Games of America have been held since they began in 1999.
Abernathy, a six-time Olympian affectionately known by her fans as “Grandma Luge,” and Arnold will compete in Olympic recurve archery, a challenging discipline that requires an athlete to hold the full weight of the bow in their fingers without the aid of a mechanical release or load-bearing pulleys; it is the only type of archery allowed in the Olympic Games. Owing to the increased quality of archery at the games beginning in 2017, the organizers upgraded the competition format from the more amateur-oriented, one-day “Metric 900 Round” in which the maximum distance for both sexes is 60 meters (65.6 yards) to the more advanced, two-day “FITA” or “WA1440” round when the maximum distance is set at 70 meters (76.6 yards) for women and 90 meters (98.4 yards) for men.
Those wishing to learn more about the games can do so at http://stategamesofamerica.com/. Those wishing to follow the scores of the athletes and find updates and photos can do so on the Virgin Islands Archery Federation’s Facebook, which is open for public viewing at: https://www.facebook.com/VIArchery