Alex the archer is going for gold

Alex Newnes secured second place at the 2015 British University Championships which were held in Lilleshall in June this year

Alex Newnes secured second place at the 2015 British University Championships which were held in Lilleshall in June this year

20 November 2015

A student who was keen to study science at Aberystwyth University despite not having ‘A’ Levels in the required subjects is right on target having graduated from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) this year with a 1st class degree in Ecology.

Alex Newnes, who is from Rhos-on-Sea in North Wales, originally embarked on a Life Sciences foundation degree at IBERS but transferred to an Ecology BSc degree.

He is now studying for an MSc in Managing the Environment and intends to become an environmental consultant.

However, academic excellence is not the only string to Alex’s bow as during his time in Aberystwyth he has become an accomplished archer.

Inspired by watching popular films such as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ he decided to try his hand and join the Aber Archers club. He believes that undertaking each discipline has generated success in the other for him.

“Studying for my degree and taking up archery both required a similar set of skills – time, determination, dedication, preparation, accuracy and precision. I wanted to study in Wales and coming to Aberystwyth has not only enabled me to achieve academically, but has also sparked my interest in a competitive sport at which I am also excelling.”

Alex has been a member of the Aber Archers club for just over 2 years and was voted as Men's Captain last year, and is now President of the club.  It is run by students, for students and is the largest University based archery club in the UK with almost 200 members, and Alex competes regularly.

Alex said: “Archery is a mental game, and competing at a high level is like taking exams. You need to stay calm and keep your cool to hit your target.

“In my first year, I was unable to afford my own equipment. The following year, I got hold of my first English longbow and attended every competition I could, steadily improving to where I came second at BUCS (British University Championships), third at the County Championships, and shot my first Welsh National Record.

“These contributed to me later being awarded the Aberystwyth University Sports Person of the Year award. I continued to improve well into the outdoor season, shooting several more Welsh National Records and County Records, and winning the Inter county championships with the highest score in my category.   

“This year I will continue to compete, with my eyes on Welsh and UK national competitions. As President I want to expand the club and make archery even more accessible, affordable, and enjoyable for all of our members and encourage as many people as possible to try out the sport.”

Dr Dylan Gwynn Jones, Alex’s tutor said: “Alex engaged fully in our Life sciences course building a solid academic foundation that clearly served him well in preparing him for BSc and now an MSc study. The way he has progressed in his sport is also testament to his ability, determination and willingness to learn”.

Another success for Alex, combining both his academic and sports worlds, is that he has recieved a Sports Scholarship for his postgraduate course with IBERS.