By Charlene Macaulay
Gordon McColl started archery five years ago and is already a national champion. The 75-year-old retiree spends his days training at Arrows Plus Point Cook and occasionally sitting down for a cup of coffee. He chats with Charlene Macaulay.
What is your connection to the Wyndham area?
I live in Seabrook, but I spend most of my time in Wyndham because of Lawrie Emmins Reserve (as a member of Werribee Archery) and Arrows Plus Point Cook (indoor archery centre). I have seen this place develop from somewhere that was all open paddocks to what it is now.
Tell me about your family.
My wife and I had three boys … five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. We have a Friday night dinner with those of our family who are around, and that’s been going on for years. We have about 10-12 people come for dinner, and now my grandkids bring their partners, and they’ve got kids.
How did you get involved in archery?
I started archery when I was 70. I used to be into golf a lot and cycling, but I don’t have the nerve for road-race cycling anymore and I got sort of tired of golf. Irene Norman, who runs Arrows Plus, had a social two-for-one come and try and my friend John and I decided to come and I became a bit obsessed with it, I suppose. Now I do it four or five times a week.
They run the national and state championship conjointly, and this year in the open age I finished third in Victoria and fourth in Australia, and in the 70-plus [category] I finished first nationally and in Victoria.
What do you love about the sport?
It takes all your attention for every arrow. You can’t not concentrate and expect to perform well. I like the idea that I’m 75 and I can compete against people in the open category for this type of bow … there aren’t many my age that can compete at the open level, and I like to be able to do that.
Is there any competition, or record, that you have your eyes set on?
The indoor tournament record of 530 is held by a woman. I hold the indoor tournament record for men, but my view is I won’t be a record holder until I beat 530.
What is your favourite Wyndham cafe or restaurant?
We go across the road [from Arrows] for coffee every week at Wyncity Bowl.
If there was something you could change about the area, what would it be?
I want people to value Lawrie Emmins Reserve, and not turn it into a tip or place that’s torn up by four-wheel drives. I also think more sporting facilities should be developed there. Lack of infrastructure is another problem. We’re putting the people in, and then trying to build infrastructure. It’s still great here … but the population increase is overwhelming.