Paralympic archer prefers to go old school

2009-08-01 21:05:51

Jeff Fabry can’t stand the thought of firing arrows with a prosthetic arm. His sturdy teeth have made him the country’s best disabled archer, and he won’t abandon his mouth tab, even though it’s becoming outdated.

The three-time Paralympic bronze medalist proved Saturday that he’s still old school, using a strong bite for pinpoint accuracy in a world championships tune-up at the State Games of America at Memorial Park.

Fabry, 36, of Tulare, Calif., has used a mouth tab — a device enabling archers to sling arrows more than 225 feet — since he started competing in 1997, nine years after a motorcycle crash forced the amputation of part of his right arm and right leg.

Prosthetic arms are the latest fad in Paralympic archery. Most competitors pick them over mouth tabs because they don’t require as much upper-body strength to take aim and they create better balance.

Then again, Fabry sported a mouth tab in winning three world titles, and he set a world record at the European Grand Prix in June in London. He’ll return to worlds this month in Nymburk, Czech Republic.

“This game is 90 percent psychological,” Fabry said. “You set up the body pretty much the same every time, and muscle repetition is pretty easy. … The basics are there. It’s just making sure everything is ready.”