Ruben Vanhollebeke sets visually impaired world record during qualification in Den Bosch

Belgium’s Ruben Vanhollebeke scored 428 out of a possible 720 points to seed top over the visually impaired 1 ranking round at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

Both he and Matteo Panariello, who scored 394, broke Panariello’s previous world record of 367 points.

“I’m feeling really great. I didn’t expect this. I wanted about 400, for myself, and we got it. I really enjoyed it. It was sometimes stressy, sometimes the black points were a little too much and I don’t want that. But I really enjoyed it and it’s great,” said Ruben.

“When the announcer said [that I had the record], I totally had goosebumps.”

Vanhollebeke has been shooting for 15 years since he took up the sport in school as a body orientation exercise when he became blind.

“I read archery and I couldn’t believe it. Not for blind people? It came from curiosity to a passion,” he said.

The 42-year-old works in a kitchen and one of his team members at the world championships is his colleague – even his boss – in daily life.

“Here, now, he’s doing what I’m saying,” Ruben joked.

Great Britain’s Steve Prowse ranked top of the visually impaired 2/3 category. The gold medallist from 2015 said he was happy to see the division growing.

There are 17 archers competing across the two visually impaired divisions at this impressive tournament in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

“It’s great because we’re trying to push it, the visually impaired, towards the Paralympics,” said Prowse.

The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June and World Archery Para Championships on 3-9 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.