American Para-archer Kevin Polish insists he is not celebrating qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games despite a difficult path to booking his place at the event, which included recovering from cancer.
The 33-year-old was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year before he was given the all-clear in December.
Polish then decided he would beginning training with a view to securing a place on the United States team for the Paralympics, which run from September 7 to 18 in the Brazilian city.
“It just hit me, ‘Man, I need to start shooting my bow again,” Polish said.
He took part in the National Field Archery Association Indoor National Championships in Louisville in March before embarking on the Paralympic qualification process.
Polish turned up at the first event in April – the Arizona Cup – and found out his wheelchair did not meet the competition’s guidelines, so he opted to make improvements to ensure he was eligible.
He went on to finish second, ensuring he progressed through to the next tournament, held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, the following month.
The American won his division before returning to the same venue in May, where he topped the standings on 46 points to clinch his spot for compound bow on the archery team for Rio.
“It’s hard for me to show emotion,” Polish added.
“When I get one of those medals around my neck, then we can smile.
“My journey’s not over yet, it’s just starting.”
“I want to shoot on the bad days and good days.
“I want to shoot every day.
“You learn a lot more doing that.
“You learn to deal with adversity.”
Archery at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is scheduled to take place from September 10 to 17 at the Sambódromo.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz