Blind archer prepares for first competition

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado woman is learning archery for the first time.

Inspired by her kids, who started in the sport first, Ashlette Lopez decided she would give it a go.

However, the way she shoots is just a little bit different than others.

When you think about archery, you might think a sharp shooter requires a sharp eye.

“Well I can’t see where I am shooting,” Lopez said.

But Lopez might disagree and tell you it’s more about one’s form.

“Building muscles and building and memorizing where you are supposed to be at,” Lopez said.

If you haven’t guessed yet, Lopez is legally blind.

“I hated sports growing up because I can’t see,” she said. “I have a hard time seeing range of depth and I can see the colors of the back of the range.”

To help her shoot she uses this piece of equipment.

“I set my arm on my sight guide, and that shows me what direction I should be shooting and lines me up as far as how and the direction I should be at,” Lopez said.

It’s not considered cheating; Lopez says it’s just more of a guide to help her get set up.

“Once I release the arrow, I can’t see where it’s gone it’s to think and to far down the range for me to see,” she said.

Since Lopez can’t see, she relies on her other senses and her coaches to make adjustments.

“I do have people call out my shots,” Lopez said. “So I can’t use my sight, but I can rely on other people’s sight,” she said.

Lopez is the first blind archer at the Archery School of the Rockies, so she’s learning as she goes with the coaches.

While she may not be the top archer at the moment, she hopes to inspire others to get out and try something new.

“I don’t want my vision to limit what I can do so I don’t allow it to, I’m just you know if you can do it. I can do it. Let’s figure out how,” she said.

Whether she can see it or not, she knows what a good shot feels like.

“It’s just a stress reliever for me I shoot an arrow and feel everything come off my shoulders,” Lopez said.

Her first competition will be in February in Las Vegas, and she says it will be against all sighted archers.

In the meantime, she’s still learning a lot and having fun.

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