Mark Franklin -
I picked up my first recurve bow as a treat for my 30th birthday in 1994 and started a beginners course at the Royal Richmond Archery Club. I visited Quicks and Peter Champion helped me choose my first recurve bow, Browning Olympian, despite him stressing that it was too advanced for me. I outgrew it very quickly and had several Hoyts over a period of 2 years.
I was spotted by a guy called Ted Bradford, who turned out to be my best friend, my coach and a father figure. The next few years saw me winning many tournaments including several county shoots and titles. I had just received a letter from Archery GB regarding the development squad when there was an horrific accident at work which led to me losing part of my fingers on my right hand. I battled to keep shooting my Recurve, causing pain and further splits and damage until Peter Champion persuaded me to try Compound. I spent the next two years swapping and changing between Recurve and Compound but eventually Compound won through. Ted introduced me to Merlin Archery which was a great experience, meeting and working with Ben and his father from 2005 to 2007 approx. I found the Compound was meant for me at 70 metres, and the results shone through and proved this was my distance.
I shot for Surrey and was winning many local shoots, including the Southern Counties tournament. For personal and job reasons I moved around a bit but this allowed me to excel and shoot for Middlesex and Hampshire counties and then for England. My first tournament shooting for England was at Guernsey and I came away with Individual Gold and Team Gold. My first Fita Star was in Andover 2007. Then continued onto the World Championships in Dover 2007. The same week we achieved team silver and I suddenly became known as Mr 10.
I won several Fita Stars over the next 3 years and was shooting for Great Britain. I was best known for the 720 round and Head to Heads.
Then 2010 in March I was honoured to represent GB in the Commonwealth test event, shooting my Hoyt Ultra Elite, where we won team gold. I went to this event to prove a point to myself, and I ended up shooting the best I’ve ever shot.
Due to health issues I dropped out of the sport from 2012 to 2016, then came back approx. 2017 and Kevin found me two Ultra Elite’s. In 2019 thanks to Kevin and all at Wales Archery I now have the Hoyt Prevail, I’ve changed to cams from spiral to SVX, to now the C3 which I am very happy with. I have a box of medals and memories which I don’t look at as I’m looking forwards and my archery story isn’t over. I’ve been a part of Wales Archery since as far back as I can remember, about 2007 and will never be with anyone else. Their support is unprecedented and their help with others in the sport goes way beyond and I’m so proud of all I have at Wales Archery.
I’ve had lots of health issues over the past 4 years until now, hopefully finally at 58, I can enjoy and rise again, my way, but most of all enjoying it for the love of it. Wales Archery have been there for me throughout all my sponsorships and learning curves with Merlin and Hoyt.
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