Saturday, 29 September 2012

Frederick William Garner



Archery was most likely first practised in Zimbabwe by the early Bushmen, using the bow and arrow as a means of getting food. But as a sport, archery made a belated appearance and even today commands limited interest from a handful of devoted followers, though overseas it is highly popular, there being six million archers in America alone.

The Salisbury Archery Club was founded by Mr. J. Peel Nelson in 1947, and has remained in existence since. Among the best early archers were Leslie Snowball and J. Wilson McArthur, the latter at one time being regarded as the best instinctive shot in Britain.

John F. Lawes, who arrived in the country in 1951, started shooting with a Doctor Rothman at Mpilo Hospital at Bulawayo. Later that year, several interested archers began shooting behind the Central Sports Ground on land belonging to the Hockey Board, among them a Major Sharp of Rosebank Farm. But the club folded after only a few months. Interest, however, was revived in early 1955 by Mr. Jimmy Jones who formed the Bulawayo Archers Club with eleven members. Top
Bulawayo archers in this period were Lawes, Bellington, Weepner, Jones and Aaron.

It was here in February 1956, that Fred Garner, who was to make a major impact on the national scene, began shooting. He stopped after a few months, only starting again in 1962 when his career began to blossom. Garner became one of two men — the other was Bulawayo's Lyle Heydenrych — to be the first official holders of Rhodesian archery colours. This was after the Southern Rhodesia Archery Association became a member of the Rhodesia Colours Board on 21 February 1964, and Garner and Heydenrych attended the Easter South African national championships at Port Elizabeth. Heydenrych (fifth) and Garner (sixth) shot Rhodesia into overall third place and both also made the FITA Star award for a score of over 1 000 — the first Rhodesians to earn this symbol of archery prowess. Garner, who was born at West Houghton, England, on 23 August 1914, came to Bulawayo in 1948.

The first full team selected to represent the Rhodesian Archery Association was : F. W. Garner (Bulawayo Municipal Bowmen), Lyle Heydenrych (Bulawayo Archers), George Mann, a paraplegic, and Neville Wright (Salisbury Archery Club).  This team competed at the South African nationals in 1965 with Garner finishing third in the men's championship to gain selection for the six-man Springbok team for the world championships at Vasterose, Sweden.

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At these championships, Garner was South Africa's leading performer, finishing 29th while his colleagues finished 40th, 46th, 61st, 81st and 92nd respectively. Garner is this country's first and only fully fledged Springbok archer. Also in 1965 Garner became active as an administrator and was elected chairman (a title changed to president in 1967) of the Rhodesian Archery Association — a post he still held in 1980. For good measure he became national champion for the first time in 1965.

It was at the 1966 national championships at the Bulawayo Archers' ground that Garner, the winner, broke the 1 100 FITA barrier for the first time in this country to establish himself firmly as the dominant personality in the sport. He was also third in the 1967 South African championships at Cape Town.

He attended the 1967 FITA (world controlling body) congress at Amersfoort, Holland, at his own expense and competed in the 24th world championships there. After ensuring Rhodesia was a member of the world body, Garner finished 70th out of 140 of the world's best archers.

The 25th world championships were at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in America in August 1969, and again Garner was Rhodesia's selection, this time finishing a highly commendable 17th out of 113 men from 30 countries.

After the 1971 championships at Salisbury, Garner (first) and Mrs. Pat Shepherd (second) were the only ones qualified to represent the country who were prepared to pay their own expenses, and so were chosen for the 26th world championships at York, England. Despite Britain's political quarrel with Rhodesia and the imposition of sanctions, both took their place on the line. However, owing to bad weather and only a few days practice, neither fared well. Garner was 80th out of 140 and Mrs. Shepherd 51st out of 80.

In 1972, archery was included in the Olympic Games for the first time since 1920 with a double FITA round to be shot in the English Garden at Munich. Pat Shepherd and Fred Garner qualified and were part of the Rhodesian team to go to Munich. They were poised to make history as the first Rhodesians to shoot at the Olympic Games and they practised assiduously over many months. But a political storm broke, forcing the entire team out of the Games on the eve of the competition.

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But this did not weaken their resolve to continue competing at international level and Garner and Mrs. Shepherd shot at the 1973 world championships at Grenoble, France, where Garner finished 38th out of 120. At the 1975 world event at Interlaken, Switzerland, Rhodesia sent a full men's team for the first time, comprising the now highly experienced Gamer, Lyle Heydenrych, Peter Ellis and
David Brown. Garner did best, finishing 63rd out of 131, while Heydenrych was in 100th position.

Rhodesia were denied entry to the 1977 world championships at Canberra, Australia, when they were refused visas by the Australian Government. In July 1979, the World Archery Federation, meeting in West Berlin, rejected a Soviet motion to expel Rhodesia by 29 votes to 17, and the only Rhodesian who competed in the world championships here was David Milne, who was placed 76th in a field of 95.

After being candidate international archery judges for several years, Roy Potter and Fred Garner were appointed full international judges at the FITA congress at Montreal in 1976. At this time, out of 54 member associations there were only 42 international judges from 18 countries.

The archer's standard is recognised by the star rating he wears. There are four stars — 1 000,1 100,1 200 and 1 300 — and the awards are strictly controlled by the world body, with the 1 300 FITA star the most prized award. There were eight 1100 ratings in Zimbabwe by the end of 1979. They were: men — Heydenrych, Garner, Masterton, Bryant and Milne; women — Shepherd, Stodart and Halkett. Ann Godwin was the first woman to qualify for the 1 000 Star and Pat Shepherd the first to attain the 1100 Star. Garner gained further notable success in the sport when he shot six golds (bulls) from 90 metres — a feat never before achieved in Zimbabwe.

David Milne became the first from this country to shoot at an Olympiad when he went to Moscow in 1980. He shot 2146 for the double F.I.T.A. round to finish 34th out of 38 archers.

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ZIMBABWE CHAMPIONS

MEN
1958 - H. H. Addison
1959 - N. J. Lottering
1960 - N. J. Lottering
1961 - N. J. Lottering
1962 - C. Wilde
1963 - C. Wilde
1964 - J. Lawes
1965 - F. W. Garner
1966 - F. W. Garner
1967 - L Heydenrych
1968 - F. W. Garner
1969 - F. W. Garner
1970 - F. W. Garner
1971 - F. W. Garner
1972 - A. Bryant
1973 - F. W. Garner
1974 - F. W. Garner
1975 - F. W. Garner
1976 - L Heydenrych
1977 - F. W. Garner
1978 - F. W. Garner
1979 - F. W. Garner

ZIMBABWE RECORDS
(as at 31 December 1979)

MEN
SINGLE F.I.T.A.
90 m — F. W. Garner: 1978 - 269
70 m — F. W. Garner: 1970 - 295
50 m — L. Heydenrych: 1976 - 305
30 m — F. W. Gamer: 1968 - 335
Total — F. W. Gamer: 1978 - 1 147

WOMEN
70 m — Mrs. P. Shepherd:  1972 - 256
60 m — Mrs. S. Stodart: 1972 - 289
50 m — M,. P. Shepherd: 1972 - 272
30 m — Mrs. D. Milne: 1971 - 318
Total - Mrs. P. Shepherd: 1972 - 1 107

DOUBLE F.I.T.A.
MEN
90 m — F. W. Garner: 1979 - 509
70 m — F. W. Garner: 1971 - 573
50 m — D. Milne: 1979 - 587
30 m — T. W. Gamer: 1968 - 668
Total — F. W. Garner: 1979 - 2 284

WOMEN
70 m — Mrs. P. Shepherd: 1972 - 508
60 m — Mrs. S. Stodart: 1977 - 559
50 m — Mrs. P. Shepherd: 1972 - 530
30 m — Mrs. D. Milne: 1978    634
Total — Mrs. P. Shepherd: 1972 - 2 208

— BYROM

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2 Comments:

At 3 October 2012 at 14:12 , Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for posting this excellent book! I cited this chapter on Garner (and Pat Shepard) in an article I wrote some years back: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09523360600922287#preview (subscription required). I am always looking for other source material relating to the Olympic Games and Rhodesia. Thanks!

 
At 4 March 2016 at 23:59 , Blogger adney jhon said...

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