Nimes 2015: What you need to know for the European leg of the Indoor World Cup
Back after the festive break, back in Nimes for an Indoor World Cup stage after the French town took a break from its famous European Indoor Tournament to host the world champs in 2014.
Over 1,100 archers are in Nimes for the third stage of the 2014/15 series, including new faces (on the indoor circuit) like Olympic Champion OH Jin Hyek, practised veterans over 18 metres Braden GELLENTHIEN and Sophie DODEMONT – and former Nimes winners like Celine SCHOBINGER.
Here’s what you need to know for Nimes 2015…
Four Defending Champions: Telford
Last year, the European stage of the Indoor Archery World Cup was in Telford, UK – as Nimes held the World Archery Indoor Championships.
Dutchman Peter ELZINGA won the compound men’s competition, beating teammate and outdoor World Champion Mike SCHLOESSER in the final.
Erika JONES from the USA had gold in the compound women’s event – just a few weeks before setting a new indoor qualification world record at the worlds.
Jean-Charles VALLADONT launched a comeback against French teammate and friend Thomas FAUCHERON to take the recurve men’s title in Telford, while KIM Yu Mi needed two one-arrow tiebreakers to take the women’s.
The first shoot-off arrows landed in exactly the same spot in the 10, according to the target judge that measured the tiebreaker. Both archers’ second shots were in the 10, too – but the measurement went in KIM Yu Mi’s favour.
Three Storylines to Follow
1) Korea: women’s professional Team LH is a staple on the Indoor World Cup circuit – and has been for a couple of years – but a cohort of Korean men turned up to the second stage in Bangkok this season.
Hyundai Steel’s men, including Olympic Champion OH Jin Hyek, had gold and silver in their first international indoor appearance. OH himself was not on the podium.
The Koreans have been at the French team’s training centre, INSEP, for the past few days to prepare for a European indoor debut in Nimes.
(LH, by the way, is a construction company in Korea. Hyundai Steel is part of the group that also owns Hyundai motor company. Both run professional archery teams in the Korean league.)
2) Nimes’ home-grown recurve archers: Pierre PLIHON, Thomas AUBERT and JC VALLADONT are one, two and three in the French national rankings – and all qualified for the European Indoor Championships. (Although Thomas AUBERT will shoot for Switzerland.)
Sandrine VANDIONANT is second ranked in France, behind retired international Sophie DODEMONT, and the lone compound woman selected for France at the Europeans.
They all shoot for Nimes and, this weekend, in Nimes… and no archer shooting for Nimes has ever won Nimes before!
(JC VALLADONT and Swiss archer Celine SCHOBINGER have both won the event, but while representing other clubs.)
3) Sophie DODEMONT: Retired from international competition but still ranked number one in France, World Champion Sophie is shooting Nimes.
Here one year ago she won that world title. Another gold in Nimes?
Ten Archers in Contention
Two legs of the 2014/15 Indoor Archery World Cup circuit in, these 10 athletes have a chance to secure not only qualification for the Final but a top seed with a strong finish in Nimes.
Recurve men: Indoor specialist Matteo FISSORE! Another Marrakesh (winning) performance and he’s in for Vegas. We’d love to see it out of the Italian. Multiple-winner Brady ELLISON (USA) has a good Nimes record.
Recurve women: Indoor World Champion and Outdoor World Cup Champion Aida ROMAN’s (MEX) first international of this indoor season is Nimes. Successful French indoor veteran Berengere SCHUH is on top heading into a home event.
Compound men: Braden GELLENTHIEN (USA)’s two out of two possible wins lead the ranking table, 11 points clear of reigning Vegas Shoot Champion Mike SCHLOESSER. He and Dutch teammate Peter ELZINGA have a good chance to lock down top five seedings here in France.
Compound women: Closer at the top than any other division, a podium for Crystal GAUVIN (USA) might secure her pole position – while defending Indoor World Cup Final winner Erika JONES (USA) and Brit Naomi JONES have an opportunity to draw ahead of the pack.
See the full series rankings.
Five Big Predictions
Find out just how good these predictions are on Sunday 25 February, when Nimes 2015 reaches its final stages.
1) It will be the highest average “cut” ever. In 2013, the average score over the four divisions to make the top 32 head-to-heads was 570.5 – and at Last year’s stage in Telford, the average cut was 565.
With Korea’s attendance, it’s odds-on to beat the 575 mark.
2) The last time a French archer won a gold at a Nimes tournament was 2011, excluding last year’s worlds. It’s about time one was back on top of the podium?
3) A world record will be broken. The recurve men’s qualification record was set in Nimes back in 2003, but it was matched in Bangkok – stage two of this year’s tour – by a Korean from Team Hyundai.
Team Hyundai is in Nimes…
4) …but while it was a Korean taking both the Bangkok men’s and women’s recurve titles in the first indoor international tournament Team Hyundai have shown up to, it won’t be a Korean man with gold this weekend.
Europe’s elite will be out in force over the next few days. Korea are new to the international indoor game, and however qualified the nation might be outdoors it would take a huge performance to wrestle this particular title out East.
5) But as a consolation, a Korean will win the compound women’s event. Fair?
One way to follow: Check WorldArchery.org throughout the weekend to catch live scores from qualification in Nimes on Friday and Saturday, and coverage of the finals on Sunday.
Read more about Nimes 2015.