Trish Gracesmith, Sandwell archer, showing off her skills with a bow

Sandwell archer Trish Gracesmith recently set a new record for the ladies WA1440 in Blind Archery and won Bronze in the BBS-AS National Championships.

Trish, who is classed as a VI/1 athlete, which means she has no useable sight and competes wearing a blindfold, also placed fourth in the Open event with the World Number 1, Ruben Vanhollebeke, leading the pack.
Most of the other countries’ competitors have over 10 years’ experience, so despite only shooting for two years and having no World Ranking it was a great achievement to come 6th in the Qualifying round for the World Games, only losing at the quarterfinals to team mate and fellow British athlete and World Number 6, Clive Jones, who went on to claim Silver.
Trish lives in West Bromwich and she thanks Sandwell Council’s gifted and talented programme  to help finance her first ever step into competing internationally.  She trains at Portway Lifestyle centre in Oldbury, and Sandwell Council has supported her through a gifted and talented grant. She is also supported by the Sandwell Community Dementia Service.
Trish applied for funding via the gifted and talented programme and was awarded £500 towards the cost of competing which has helped her on her journey to success. The gifted and talented programme helps athletes living in Sandwell who are competing at elite level or have the potential to do so by providing direct, individual grants which can be used to purchase, kit, equipment or pay towards travel and competition costs.
If you or a friend or family member want to find out more information about the Gifted and Talented programme has recently been re-launched to the public.
Trish said:
“It was a fantastic opportunity to compete and now to be classed as an international archer. I think my story shows that staying active is really important, both physically and mentally. I started doing archery after doing a taster session for the visually impaired. Ironically, when I could see, I couldn’t hit the side of a bus but now I train three times a week at two clubs and compete internationally!”
Sandwell Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, Councillor Charn Singh Padda, said:
“I want to congratulate Trish on her amazing achievements. Her success just goes to show what talent Sandwell can boast and how, with support from the council, local athletes can overcome challenges and reach their goals.”

Published: Friday, 15th September 2023