Chris Perkins pushing for second world title a decade on

Chris Perkins shoots at the Yankton 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.

Christopher Perkins barely recognises himself when looking at photos from 10 years ago.

His fitness level, for one, is much better now. The Canadian compounder was young and not the lean figure he now imposes when he won individual gold at the 2011 World Archery Championships in Turin, Italy.

All the better, he says. Slimmed-down and sporting a goatee, Perkins spoke of his title with a justifiable mixture of amusement and nostalgia while reflecting earlier this week at the Yankton 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.

“It brings back old memories,” said Perkins, now 29 years old. “Being here before, doing this before and knowing my capabilities as an archer now versus then, the change I’ve experienced is substantial.”

“I think I'm a lot more confident in myself and my ability than I was 10 years ago,” he continued. “Going back and revisiting all of those times and the things I’ve worked on to better myself as an archer, both mentally and physically, I think it plays a big factor in being here today.”

As he spoke, Perkins was halfway through shooting a qualification round that would seed him third with a score of 699 in extremely tough conditions, reinforcing his status as one of the best compound archers in the world. 

While much has changed since his debut a decade ago – not to mention the six years since he last competed for a world championship – Perkins still views himself as a worthy contender to claim his second gold medal in this event.

“As far as confidence going into eliminations, absolutely my experience helps,” he said. “Pretty much everybody here as far as the big names – Mikey [Schloesser], Stephan [Hansen], Braden [Gellenthien], Kris [Schaff] – all of those guys, I’ve competed against them for years.”

“I think that's a big thing, too, that we're all friends,” he said. “Back then, I didn't really know any of those guys. But now it’s kind of different. We’re friends, we’re having a good time and we‘re enjoying ourselves, versus being uptight and nervous. I think it plays a big, big factor in being comfortable up there.”

On route to the title in Turin beat a who’s who of US compounders: First Braden Gellenthien, then Reo Wilde and then Jesse Broadwater in the final.

Back then, Perkins was an unknown in comparison. Now, he’s well-known, spending most of his time competing in professional 3D archery circuits in the United States.

“This is a completely different game than what I’ve been playing,” he said. “It's a completely different set-up, a completely different mental game and visual picture. The total aspects of both types of archery are completely different.”

But if there has been any rust in his return, he hasn’t shown it.

Even with 10 years of distance and a shift in archery disciplines, Perkins cruised through his first two elimination rounds with scores of 147 points. He’s now into the quarterfinals – and will shoot in the elite eight medal session on Saturday morning.

The veteran knows he’s capable of reaching the medal stand. Now it’s time to remind everybody else. 

The compound competition concludes on Saturday at the world championships.