The reigning queen of barebow, Cinzia Noziglia, speaks to Bow International
In October 2022, Italy’s Cinzia Noziglia was named the World Games’ athlete of the month not long after her victory at the World Archery Field Championships in Yankton. This completed a field archery ‘Triple Crown’ of the World Games title, the World 3D title and the World Field Championship title in the same year.
Cinzia also seeded first in each competition, cementing an extraordinary dominance in her discipline. The world field title had eluded her previously, and she had already collected silver and bronze individual medals.
Now 38 years old, Cinzia took her first international barebow medal in 2014. Since 2018, she has had her career further developed by being part of the Fiamme Oro (Golden Flames), the sport wing of the Italian federal police. In Italy and several other European countries, elite sports are more closely affiliated with the police and armed forces, allowing elite athletes to train while developing a long-term career after they finish competing.
After Cinzia’s spectacular field performances, she also made an appearance at the Kings Of Archery indoor target competition in the Netherlands this year.
Barebow seems to attract people with a slightly more independent streak than maybe other types of archery. Do you agree?
I could answer you that barebow archers are always ‘alone’ with the bow, and we don’t have assistance like the clicker or the release. So we can be independent, we can handle the bow in the way we prefer. I still feel that barebow is a ‘new’ discipline in terms of popularity. While the number of barebow archers is increasing, we still don’t have a standard set of ‘rules’ for form that everybody follows, like you have with recurve.
After many decades of learning and study, recurve archers now follow a standardised shooting form all over the world (which is of course customised by individual archers). This still doesn’t happen for barebow, so you can see barebows on the field with very different shooting styles. But I think that in few years it will become more formal and standardised, because barebow must be treated in a scientific way – the same as any other bow.
Related to the above, why do you think people are drawn to barebow rather than other types of bows?
Because barebow is the perfect compromise between a ‘primitive’ bow and a high-tech, modern bow. You can mix the innovative materials with the most simple and primal way to handle the bow and shoot.
Who taught you the sport and how did they do it? How soon did you go out on your own?
I started just for fun at a small club near my home. (It’s got a lot bigger now, and I’m still training there.) My first coach was very nice and tried to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves – fun and jokes were the most important thing.
After four years I was called to the national team, and after taking part at national meetings I kept in touch with the best Italian barebows. I can go on my own now, I have enough experience, but I think that sharing my opinion or my training with coaches and archers is always very important for our personal growth.
The internet has been a big factor in spreading information about the sport and building a community, but maybe information is still a little fragmented. What could be improved about how to learn the sport, for people new to it?
Of course barebow has grown thanks to information on the internet, and thanks to the live records of competitions and so on. And it’s very interesting to see, with a few clicks, how someone shoots, what their score was or what kind of equipment someone used.
Sometimes when we watch archers all over the world we copy their equipment and shooting form, but we don’t know their past and the reasons why they do something or use some piece of equipment. Something that is good for one person could be bad for another. I think it is more interesting to watch the top shooters and find the common aspect in their technique.
There is now more barebow-specific equipment available. When you see a new piece of equipment, how do you evaluate it and decide whether to add it to your setup?
In a very simple way. I try to simulate a competition during training. If my scores increase, the equipment is approved; if the scores go down, the equipment is rejected. If the scores stay the same, but the feeling is good and I like it, I approve it.
You’re obviously a bigger figurehead for the sport after your success this year. What has changed for you? Do you feel like the leader of something?
I don’t feel like the leader of anything! Last year was an amazing year. I shot very strongly and probably I was lucky, too, because I was in form during a period of two World Championships and World Games.
Something has changed, yes – when I take part at local competitions at home there are children who ask me for a picture, which is beautiful. I will try to maintain my focus; I don’t want to rest on my laurels, as we say in Italy. I’ll continue with my training, and I’ll look forward to the next season. I think that maintaining the high level is more difficult than reaching it, so it will not be easy, but I will do my best.
TV: spreading the word
Being a top-level archer entails certain responsibilities and duties that go beyond straightforward competitive performance. One of these is to know how to be an ambassador of the sport, helping to
bring as many people as possible to
Cinzia recently had to do this in a very public way; in past months she has been called upon to participate in popular television programmes such as Italia’s Got Talent and, subsequently, in a well-known programme on the Rai One channel, I Soliti Ignoti (which roughly translates as ‘the usual suspects’).
In both cases, her television appearance gained a lot of interest in archery because of Cinzia’s ability to promote the sport very naturally, for which she has been widely praised on social media. It’s a demonstration of the massive importance of TV in steering people to archery – and seizing opportunities when they arise.
She is a very nice person and a great archer.
Sadly we got no information about her specific equipment.
Its nice to see which kind of tab, plunger, rest etc. top level archer use.
Thanks Bronson. We’ll see what we can do to change that next time!
Thanks a lot