Harry no hotshot as archery attempt misses the target

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The Duke of Sussex found he was wide of the mark when he tried his hand at archery – and threw his hands up in despair.

Harry got to grips with a bow and arrow when he joined seriously injured rugby players trying the sport at Twickenham Stadium – the home of English rugby – as part of their recovery.

The duke at first said no when Dani Watts, wheelchair-bound after breaking and dislocating her back playing club rugby, challenged him to have a go, but he quickly relented.

He first jokingly aimed his foam-tipped arrow at the press, but when he let it fly it bounced well wide, and Harry said “oh come on” in exasperation as he held his arms out in disappointment.

Ms Watts, like the injured players around her, has been helped by the RFU Injured Players Foundation, which has Harry as its patron and supports rugby men and women of all levels who suffer a catastrophic spinal cord or traumatic brain injury.

The former personal trainer from Reading said after her encounter with Harry: “He’s done this before and said once you start you’re there for ages, you have 30 shots and you get just one in.”

The Duke of Sussex during a visit to the RFU Injured Players Foundation’s annual Client Forum at Twickenham Stadium
The Duke of Sussex is patron of the RFU Injured Players Foundation (Tim Ireland/PA)

The 29-year-old, who played for Redingensians RFC, a team based near Reading, said: “I broke and dislocated my back, compressing my spinal cord, I only came out of hospital three months ago and was in there for six months.”

She added that beyond the financial support the injured players receive from the foundation, it was the mental and personal benefits that activities such as archery gave them which were just as important.

Ms Watts added: “You cannot shoot a bow properly if you’re tense, so you have to relax. If I go into Tesco, I’m aware I’m in a wheelchair, I feel uncomfortable.

“Here, all I’m thinking about is beating the person next to me, what you’re used to doing – it brings out the competitive spirit.”

The Duke of Sussex speaks with boccia players during a visit to the RFU Injured Players Foundation’s annual Client Forum at Twickenham Stadium
Harry shares a laugh with boccia players (Tim Ireland/PA)

He joked with two former players involved in boccia, asking one who was easily winning: “Are you cheating?”

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