He hit it right on target to earn the honour of wearing the green and gold. Ian Asidera wore the Aussie jersey at the 2016 Oceania Archery Games and won for Australia three gold medals and one silver.
It’s a feat for someone who took archery originally as a hobby. But the competitive spirit soon drew Ian to become one of a few Filipino-Australians doing well in sports.
“I was so happy when I won medals for Australia. I was already very excited when I was included in the Australian team, I thought I’ll get lucky but when I was there (in Tonga) I became more confident and I started winning,” Ian tells AK in a recent interview at the Sydney Olympic Park Archery club where he trains 20 hours per week.
“It all started as a hobby. Back in the Philippines I used to do rifle shooting. When I got here in Australia it was quite tough to get a rifle shooting licence. So four years ago, I thought I’d probably try archery, I made a decision to find me an individual sport and someone pointed me to the Sydney Olympic park archers which is now my current club. ”
From rifle and hunting guns to bow and arrows, Ian definitely can spot the bullseye.
While training at the club, SOPA head coach Ricci Cheah took notice of Ian’s potentials and pushed him to seriously consider training for the sport. SOPA has one of the best facilities for coaching in Australia.
Ian took the qualifying rounds in February and began topping the local scoresheets. Soon enough, he was included in the Australian team that competed at the 2016 Oceania Championships held in Tonga last April.
His haul in his first international outing: three Gold medals (Commonwealth championships, Oceania Championships, Mixed Match play) and a Silver (Oceania 1440).
“You need to be committed but if you love what you do you won’t even notice the hours spent on training. I have loved archery so sometimes I don’t even notice the long hours with my bow and arrow – this is really fun for me, I really enjoy this sport,” says Ian.
Ian is aiming to compete in the Masters to be held in Auckland, New Zealand next year.
“Basta pagsisikapan ko po, sana tuloy-tuloy na ito,” says Ian.
At the SOPA field, he patiently shoots his arrows to hit the mark fifty metres away. He loads, pulls, aims and releases and the arrows. It’s a routine he does on and on under the sun.
Ian migrated to Australia eight years ago. He currently works as a nurse moving away from from his previous IT work back in the Philippines. He hails from Butuan City in Mindanao.
It was here in Australia where he would meet wife Abi. They have a two-year old daughter, Alexandra. The names of Abi and Alexandria are displayed on an arrow tattoo on his right forearm.
“I just had this at a tattoo shop in Blacktown after winning in the championships,” he says in jest.
But there’s another reason to the archery-themed tatt. Before him, it was actually wife Abi who was into archery and Ian admits he may have learned some points from her too.
“She was once active in archery but she stopped when she got pregnant,” he says.
With more competitive tourneys lying ahead of him, Ian encourages his kabayans to try this sport.
“Archery is something that is close to the individual, you have a personal task, a personal target. Archery is a fun and challenging sport. I would encourage fellow Fil-Aussies to try this sport.”