A paralyzed man from South Carolina has become a one of the best para archers in the world five years after a motorcycle accident confined him to a wheelchair. His goal now is to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Ben Thompson, was left paralyzed from the chest down after a 2010 motorcycle accident, but that has not stopped him from mastering archery and aiming high, according to Charleston’s WCSC Live 5 News.
Thompson’s doctors in rehab urged him to find a hobby so he can stay active for his health, and he chose to pick up archery once again which was a hobby from his childhood.
“I grew up shooting everything I could, but nothing to this level,” he told WCSC.
While Thompson won the archery bronze medal at the 2015 Para Pan Am Games in Toronto, he missed a spot on the 2016 Rio Paralympic team.
Thompson considered hanging up his bow and arrow after the defeat but changed his mind.
“I decided I could do better. I totally changed everything, and in the next tournament shot a personal best,” said Thompson. “I told myself I won’t quit until I feel I have plateaued.”
In a video posted on Facebook, Ben tells his story of his accident and his decision to choose archery over other sports.
“Even though I compete out of a chair, my ability to shoot that bow is no different than someone standing next to me shooting that same bow,” Thompson said.
“I made the choice that my goal would be the Olympics,” he said. “I would assume, I guess I’m going for 2020, but I haven’t said that really.”
Acknowledging that “archery is my current passion and drive, Thompson added, “when I’m on the field shooting, the bow and arrow doesn’t see my disability.”
Thompson began competing internationally in 2014 and has traveled to Argentina and Toronto to compete, according to his profile on the Team USA website.