Jonathon aims for Rio target
An article from the July 17th 2015 edition of The Penrith Press by Kristine Tarbert.
No 1 Para Archer in World Championship. Two and a half years ago Jonathon Milne broke his neck diving into the ocean. Now the 29 year old is training to compete at the World Archery Para Championships being held in Donaueschingen, Germany between 21st and 30th of August 2015, in the hope of securing a spot on the Australian team for the Paralympics in Rio in 2016.
It was just before Christmas on 23rd December 2012 whilst Mr Milne was on holidays with his family on the Central Coast when the accident happened.
"My wife and I were about three metres or 10 feet off shore, I dived through a wave and my hands went into the gully of the sandbar and my forehead just clipped it." Mr Milne, from Mulgoa. said. "I came up out of the water and wanted to pull my feet underneath me but they didn't move. I could feel them on the sand but couldn't move them."
Mr Milne was flown to the Royal North Shore Hospital and spent 5 and a half months in hospital and rehabilitation, paralysed from the chest down.
"It was two and a half to three months before I started doing any walking." He said. "I can now drive a car without assistance and I can walk short distances with crutches, but I don't have any core stability."
Having always loved sport, Mr Milne played indoor soccer, tennis and was an avid swimmer and surfer before the accident. Now a member of the Sydney Olympic Park Archers, Mr Milne trains most days of the week while working full time for the Abbey Archery store in Castle Hill.
"I did archery when I was 14 for about a year, but I stopped." he said. "I thought it was the best sport to do in a chair and it took less than two months for me to buy the gear. When I started shooting, I still had the neck brace on."
At first Mr Milne had to be strapped into the chair as he couldn't sit up, but having regained his strength, he is now ranked the No 1 disabled archer and 11th out of all archers in Australia.
"At first it was just something to keep my mind off the injury." he said. "The first major tournament I entered was the Indoor Nationals. I ended up third in the state and that surprised me." "Most recently I won the National Para Championships down in Melbourne and was invited to compete at the World Championships in Germany."
By placing in the top 19 in Germany next month, Mr Milne qualifies for the Paralympics in Rio next year. He has been nominated for a Courage Medal and admitted he has a new perspective on life. "I've never sat around and hated life. My circumstances changed but they've opened up other doors. I've met new people and I'm doing things I never thought I'd be able to do."
Jonathon had been a long time Abbey customer and frequented our Castle Hill store whenever he could.
It was hard not to like his friendly and bright personality and he did endear himself to our store staff. He commenced work at Abbey Archery in early 2015 and Jonathon is the first person that many people get to hear when our phone is answered.
He is engaging and wants to assist customers whether it is on the phone, by email or in our shop and has built up a good reputation in helping to solve customers with their shooting and technical problems.
He has achieved a recent score of 687 out of 720. He is currently ranked No 11 in Australia in able-bodied rankings. He is an excellent ambassador for Abbey and conducts himself in a most professional way on and off the course.
We wish him well in his forthcoming tournament in Germany.
Jonathon shot a Hoyt Pro Comp Elite XL and has only recently received his Hoyt Podium X Elite 40 Spiral Pro which is equipped with a Beiter Compound Arrow Rest, CBE Vertex 3D sight, FUSE Carbon X Taper Stabiliser, TRU Ball Honey Badger Claw 3 Finger Release Aid and he shoots Easton X10 Arrows.
Jonathon was presented with a framed copy of the above newspaper article and Abbey Archery staff were on hand to congratulate him.