The champion archery husband and wife team of Les and Denise Hand.
The champion archery husband and wife team of Les and Denise Hand.

Maryborough couple crowned champs

MARYBOROUGH’S Les Hand is not going to let his battle with cancer get the better of him.

Far from it – the 62-year-old is determined to live life to the full and continue to give sport his very best shot ...literally.

He’s a champion archer and he has the award to prove it.

The year finished on a high for Les and his wife Denise after the pair hit the target at the Cooloola Archers presentation night.

The pair was crowned the club champions for senior men and women at the Gympie-based club.

Cooloola Archers is 3D Australian Archery Association Club, a club where archers take aim at life size rubber animals such as bear, deer and cougars set in a hilly bush environment to simulate hunting distances rather than the traditional targets.

Winning the club award was not the only highlight of the year for Les, who only started to shoot in 2005.

He finished inside the top 10 in the state in the non-sighted division during the Queensland 3DAAA point score championship in October.

But how did Les, who has been living with cancer since 2002, get involved with archery?

“A mate of mine kept saying to me to come and have a go so I did,” he said.

“It only took me about six arrows and I was hooked – I am so glad I went along and gave it a go.”

He’s so hooked on the sport that he and Denise don’t have far to go if they want to practice.

They have their own 3D range at home.

As for the results last year, well, Les said they hadn’t been too bad.

“We both had some success,” he said.

“But it’s not all about winning – we get a lot of pleasure out of what we do and that’s the important thing.

“My energy levels may not be as good nowadays but archery is my driving passion. I live for my wife and archery – I’m happy.”

When he’s not shooting, Les can still be found hard at work doing something very important for archers.

He makes all the arrows he and his wife shoot and some for others, a skill he learnt from local fletcher, Keith Forrest.

His wife said being a perfectionist by nature; the arrows that Les creates are his “therapy”.

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