Pat to the Paralympics

Romsey archer Patrick French will make his Paralympics debut at the 2024 Paris Games.

Romsey archer Patrick French will make his Paralympics debut at the 2024 Paris Games.

The 31-year-old is one of six representatives on Australia’s largest Paralympic Games archery team in 40 years.

Entering the sport just two years ago, Pat was quick to hone his skills.

Archery Australia has described his rapid progression as “a testament to his talent and relentless pursuit of excellence”.

Pat suffered a workplace tree-felling accident in 2015, which left him paralysed and wheelchair reliant, with an acquired brain injury.

It wasn’t until he purchased his first bow for hunting that he developed an interest in wheelchair sports and cracked open the world of competitive para-archery.

“I looked up the records, and thought, ‘I could do that’,” he said.

Pat set himself a clear goal from the purchase of his first competitive compound bow.

“I wanted a bow that would that take me from beginner to Paralympian,” he said.

“My name is Patrick French – so it had to be Paris.”

Success at his first national event encouraged his full-time pursuit of archery 18 months ago, pausing work as a tattooist.

National coach Marcus Anear has helped to keep Pat on an upwards trajectory. Pat’s average practise is 300-350 arrows per day.

In February, Pat travelled to Dubai to compete in a world ranking event that secured Australia’s place in the Paris games.

Also behind him every step of the way, has been his fiancé, five-year-old son, parents and in-laws.

“My top competitor is me,” he said.

“Archery is a very mental sport, so, as long as I stay out of my own head and I’m shooting my bow, I will be right at the top of the field.”

Pat leaves for the Paris Paralympic Games in mid-August. He will join Aussie teammates: bronze medallist Jonathon Milne, Amanda Jennings, Taymon Kenton-Smith and fellow debutantes Ameera Lee and Melissa Tanner.

Australia’s history in Paralympic archery includes three gold medals — one in 1960 and two in 1968. Milne’s bronze medal in 2016 is Australia’s only podium finish for archery in the past four decades. This year’s team is hopeful of building on that success.

An Australian Sports Foundation hosted fundraiser has helped Pat with costs of equipment, training necessities and related expenses, and it remains open. Anyone wishing to contribute can do so, via: