Hubert Wursthorn bought along 15 bows for first visit to the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition in 2005. This year he is back tenfold
German bow maker hitting his target at Adihex as interest in archery grows in UAE
Hubert Wursthorn’s first visit to the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition in 2005 had mixed success.
The German archer brought with him 15 bows to gauge interest in the Gulf market. Sales were good but shipments to customers were stopped by customs officials.
“The police thought they were weapons,” says Wursthorn, the creator of Archery Logistics and owner of Hotel Bad, a spa hotel in the Black Forest. “It’s not a weapon. Dangerous? Dangerous is a car. If you hit someone with a golf ball isn’t the golf ball a weapon too?”
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This taught Wursthorn two things. First, that there was an interest for archery in the UAE. And secondly, that he must bring the bows with him to future exhibitions.
Wursthorn is back this year with 150 bows, including eight Bavarian bows customised for Adihex customers.
Each oak bow has strings in the national colours of the UAE and the profile of a falcon carved on inlaid mammoth ivory.
The bows, numbered one through eight, cost up to Dh8,000. Three were sold on the first day and one has gone missing. “It happens everywhere,” says Wursthorn, resigned.
In 2008, he brought a gold-plated bow that had limbs painted with falcons and horses, seven golden arrows for the seven emirates. It only sold this February, for a lower value than Wursthorn hoped.
Still, he has seen a growing interest in archery over the years. A chance meeting between Wursthorn and an Abu Dhabi university student in 2009 led to the foundation of an archery group at the Al Ghazal Golf Club. It is now 50 members strong.
Its founder, Nasser Ihsan, began practicing archery after buying a beginner 68-inch bow set from Wursthorn.
“I started practicing for three hours a day in the backyard,” says Ihsan a Yemeni archery coach who was born and raised in Abu Dhabi. “Of course my family did not like that, they wanted me to focus on my university studies.”
When Ihslan found the fees for archery clubs were too high, so he started his own at the Al Ghazal Golf Club. The club does freestyle and compound archery.
Stories like these are why Wursthorn returns year after year, despite the setbacks. “I saw the fire in his eye and it changed his life,” says Wursthorn. “Archery is his life. Archery gave him his breath.”
Archery Logistics and Abu Dhabi Archery have an archery range for Adihex visitors. It costs Dh20 for three arrows. The best eight shooters will compete in a final round for prizes on Saturday.