May 20, 2011
By Jacqueline M. Hames
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service) — Two Army athletes took home silver medals Thursday in the 2011 Warrior Games Archery Finals at the Olympic Training Center, here.
Travis Akin finished second in the recurve-bow shooting and Kenneth Harker took second place in the compound-bow competition, after equally intense rounds of shooting.
The medal round in archery consisted of the top eight shooters from the preliminaries. The archers were paired in bracket-format, the top two athletes competing for the gold in both recurve and compound events. Each archer was allowed 30 seconds to make a shot, shooting alternately.
Harker faced off against Jedidiah Vermillion, a Marine, in a side-by-side shootout punctuated by cheers from supporters.
“I did all right. I got to the gold medal round, and I think my second (arrow) in, my nerves were getting the better of me,” Harker said.” Toward the last in — the fourth in — I brought it back in, but I lost by two points.”
Harker is a double-leg amputee. He was injured by an explosive form penetrator in Baghdad, but believes the Warrior Games has helped him immensely with his recovery.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” he said.
Though Harker is happy to have won the silver medal, he is not satisfied and intends to come back next year and win the gold.
Akin, the recurve silver medalist, went head-to-head with another Marine, Steven Lunt. Andre Shelby, Navy, took the gold in the compound bow, while Dan Govier, Marines, took the gold in recurve. Lunt and Vermillion went home with the bronze in their respective events.
“Give it a try,” Harker advised other wounded Soldier about the Games. “A lot of guys probably haven’t even thought about trying, so you have to give it a try.”
The Warrior Games, a joint effort between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense, is sponsored by Deloitte. For a complete competition schedule or list of event results, visit: www.usparalympics.org/warriorgames.