14-year-old Austin Dougherty has been competing in archery tournaments across the country for four years now, with the goal of making the upcoming Canada Winter Games.
Dougherty is a type 1 diabetic, as he was diagnosed five years ago. Austin received a recurve bow as a Christmas gift in 2018. His father, Jeremy says he couldn’t be more proud of his son.
“Soccer was really the only sport that he previously enjoyed. He wanted to find a sport that he could enjoy and not worry about his blood sugar levels being low so often. From there, he really developed an interest in archery and he continues to develop that skill,” he explains.
“He enjoys the sport overall and a lot of that has to do with the support of the Game Country Archers club, which he’s involved in. They’ve really taken an interest in him from the start.”
Austin has also started his own fundraiser, as a way of giving thanks to the Stollery Children’s Hospital diabetes care team, bringing in a little more than $1,400.
It’s great to see. It shows that he supports the people who support him,” he says.
The two have been busy traveling to different tournaments ever since he got into the sport at a competitive level.
“We start with the Alberta Indoor Archery Tournament in Blackfalds, which is part of the qualifying requirements for the Canada Winter Games. This weekend is the Stollery tournament, the Nationals are in Winnipeg, and we also have a bunch of camps later this year for the Canada Winter Games,” he says.
Austin and his father are hopeful that Grande Prairie is successful in its bid to host the Alberta Winter Games in 2024.
“It would mean a lot to our whole family and it would be spectacular for the community. It would fill us with so much pride. Pride to showcase the area we live in and pride to be able to see him take part in the competition,” he adds.
Dougherty is one of four other archers in the province competing for a spot in the upcoming Canada Winter Games and the only recurve archer in the Peace Country area. He has also participated in the 2020 Alberta Winter Games, coming in 5th place. He has also won numerous medals.
The 2023 Canada Winter Games take place in Prince Edward Island, with 3,600 of Canada’s best to be selected to take part.