Belgian armless ace Van Montagu sets sights on Paralympics in Paris

Stutzman also had a big role to play in Van Montagu trying the sport. 

While he had always been drawn to archery, it was only by watching the US trailblazer that he realised that it might be possible to compete. 

“I got in touch with the Handisport League in Belgium to do archery, I wanted to do it but I wasn’t sure if it was possible,” said Van Montagu, who was a big fan of Legolas in the Lord of the Rings saga and the television series Arrow

At the time, he had seen videos of the Armless Archer, but when he found a club, he needed a prosthetist to help see how he could shoot.

“Matt has little arms, I don’t have anything. It’s smooth on my shoulders, so I couldn’t use the same strapping he does. We had to find another technique. It took nearly three years,” he said.

Van Montagu had spent the previous decade excelling in wheelchair football, competing in world and European Championships until a decision had to be made on where to place his focus. 

He’s opted for archery and is now poised to compete at his second Paralympics next year in Paris. 

At Tokyo 2020, he was narrowly beaten in the third round by eventual silver medallist Ramezan Biabani. This time around, the Belgian is dreaming bigger. 

“Until I have managed to get 720 out of 720 or become Paralympic Champion,” he said. “There will always be room for improvement.”

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