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WUXI, China - Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa), recently competed in Wuxi, China at the 2013 World Archery Youth Championships, a biannual tournament that is the most prestigious archery event for youth archers. After competing at the 2011 Championships, where he ranked number one and returned home with a team gold medal Deaton was ready and excited to compete in his second World Archery Youth Championships.
Deaton spoke with USA Archery before Wuxi, and noted that he was "really looking forward to flinging some arrows! I live for competing and representing the USA, and� I'm able to do both at the same time. We have an all-star team going, not only for the junior compound, but [also] for the other seven teams. I'm really looking forward to supporting the rest of the team and seeing them compete."
In preparing for the most prestigious archery event for youth archers, Deaton explains that he treated the WAYC just like every other tournament, "Shooting as many good arrows as I can and making sure my bow is the best it can be. I always try and put myself in higher-pressure situations while practicing as well. The ones I create aren't even close to the real thing, but without a little prep, I wouldn't know how to respond in some."
Deaton added, "My first goal is to obviously win 3 gold medals, but I don't want it to be just about that. I know everyone on the team, but I want us all to grow together a little bit. We have an awesome team, and I want to see everyone else win 3 gold [medals] as well. And I want them all to know that the other 23 people on the team are right behind them.
"These tournaments aren't just about winning some hardware. It's about becoming better, more experienced archers and all around better people. How many other young adults get to travel to China with an awesome archery family to represent the best nation on earth? It's such a blessing, and I hope we all take advantage of it."
And while Deaton was confident, he admitted that he still has "a little bit of nerves." To conquer them, he explains "I handle the nerves by embracing them. If I get to the point where I'm no longer nervous about being on a big stage, I won't compete anymore. [Nerves] are probably one of my favorite things about archery. Knowing I have no control over my opponents score. Just me and the target."
We circled back with Deaton after the team's successful trip to Wuxi, from which he returned with a team silver medal. When asked about his favorite memories of the trip, he commented: "Just like every other trip, [my favorite part] is seeing the cultures from not only the host country, but the whole world all in one place. While I do go there with a fierce competitive spirit, not everyone can say they shot with [archers from] Denmark, India and Germany. For as awesome and large of a sport we have, we are also such a tight knit community of competitors, archers, and friends."
"The best advice I can give to any young competitor is to embrace anything and everything that happens at these or any sort of tournaments," Deaton stated when asked what advice he would give to up and coming youth archers. "Like I told some of the younger ones while we were there, it is the best 10 days of your life. I have so many" memories from just the few trips I have been on, but I remember every detail of each one. Not everyone gets to experience these things and show the world our country is more than what they see on the news, so embrace it and make the most of every moment."
Deaton recently won the Iowa Athlete of the Year award after competing in the Iowa Games. The commissioner of each sport nominates a candidate and Deaton said he was "lucky enough to be selected� What an honor that was! I'm happier that I was able to get the word on archery out and hopefully help grow the sport even more than winning."
To follow this impressive rising star, like his Facebook page, or follow
his Twitter feed @TheeArchery.
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