Written by by Rose Harden , Special to CNN
The wheelchair may be the newest addition to archery , but it isn’t the only way for disabled athletes to test their skills.
Started in 1993, Para Archery 2.0 — which was founded by Kurt Moondorff — uses a line of remote-controlled arrows, located on stumps positioned every so often in target range, to help competitors hone their skills.
To create the line, Moondorff worked with an archery company to design the arrows that have familiar targets such as halloween pumpkins, a bull’s-eye and even a dart that flashes red when its dart leaves the target.
Moondorff says that his inspiration for the line came from watching his father compete at the Olympics.
“A lot of people think he [his father] shot well as a target shooter, but I realized later he wasn’t shooting his best sport and that probably had to do with the fact that he was in a wheelchair.”
Moondorff’s mother was also a part of the team that won the gold at the 1976 Montreal games in taekwondo. Both of her children competed. “I was sitting there thinking ‘this is so crazy that both my parents are athletes. I want to do this too’. So, I took it upon myself to find a way to do it,” he said.
He was introduced to the development company BB&T and decided to design an archery line that would help athletes who may not be able to employ traditional shots, or if they do use them, shoot with greater skill and success.
Moondorff’s line features an array of aimable arrow shapes, which range from a relatively soft, softball-shaped arrow, to a simple aerated target-surface bow.
What would the look of an arrow be? Think about the old-school television “scissor shot” as you try and aim a arrow using the sights on your phone, the concept is the same. Imagine seeing a number of arrows resting around your bracket, and your arrow on the middle. It would be similar to how your smartphone tilts as you try to aim it.
“The arrows look flat and they look like a bow and arrow, but we’ve made everything you could imagine you could shoot with them,” he said.
This technology has enabled Moondorff’s team to create a range of arrows that target around 80 different items — worth around $200 in total. His aim is to incorporate the wider variety of targets into his product range.
In addition to their motion-sensor based archery range, Moondorff also designed the archery programs in his athlete’s quads using only training on long-distance archery.
Moondorff holds a Master’s in Allied Safety and uses a computer program called “Arrow Wars” which he says can help the individual using archery program to improve their game.
A member of the Minnesota Bowhunters Association, Moondorff said he hunts with his father every year. The problems faced by archers range from arm fatigue to the difficulty of shooting while traveling.
Moondorff’s products come in a range of price tags between $1,500 and $1,800 but Moondorff assures consumers they are top quality.
After taking up archery after a career in biotechnology, Moondorff is looking to showcase his sport at the Paralympic Games next year in Tokyo.