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Athletes of the Week: From the Youth Olympic Games to the London Games

Six of the archers who qualified for the London Olympic Games had competed in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. One of them, Mexico’s Mariana AVITIA, is even a 2008 Olympian!

The first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) were held in Singapore from 14-26 August 2010. The archery competition featured 32 boys and 32 girls born in the years 1992 and 1993. Six athletes who were present in Singapore have qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games: Mariana AVITIA (MEX), Miranda LEEK (USA), Lidiia SICHENIKOVA (UKR) and TAN Ya Ting (TPE) on the women’s side, who will all be competing within a full team, while on the men’s side Md Emdadul Haque MILON (BAN) and Axel MULLER (SUI) will be competing as individuals.

Mariana AVITIA (MEX) is the most experienced of them all, having already competed in the Olympic Games in 2008 at the tender age of 14. The youngest athlete of the entire Mexican delegation, she managed to place 8th individually in Beijing. Fourth at the Youth Olympics, she won the team title at the Panamerican Games the following year. She helped the Mexican team qualify for London at the Final Qualification Tournament in Ogden, and will represent Mexico together with Aida ROMAN and Alejandra VALENCIA.

Miranda LEEK, who had placed 9th at the Youth Games, has won several international medals since then. Currently the No. 7 of the World Ranking, she is one of the most promising archers of her generation. The American archer, who celebrated her 18th birthday on 18 May, was 9th at the last World Championships, and the runner-up at the 2011 Panamerican Games. She had a great start to the year 2012 with a team gold medal and an individual silver at the Indoor World Championships in Las Vegas behind archery legend Natalia VALEEVA (ITA). Miranda, who is coached by her father, will be competing in London on the U.S. team together with Khatuna LORIG and Jennifer NICHOLS.

Lidiia SICHENIKOVA, who placed 9th in Singapore, had won the bronze medall at the Cadet World Championships one year earlier. In 2011 she won the Boe Grand Prix and helped Ukraine place 5th at the Turin World Championships, thus qualifying a full team to London. The 19-year-old recently placed 5th individually at the European Championships.

TAN Ya-Ting from Chinese Taipei was the silver medallist in Singapore. Her major achievements came in the team and mixed team events: she placed 3rd (team) at the 2010 World Cup stage 4 in Shanghai; at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Legnica, she won the silver in the team event and the bronze in the mixed team; earlier this year, she won the mixed team event at the Shanghai World Cup and helped her team place second at the Antalya World Cup. She will be competing for a team medal at the London Games.

Md Emdadul Haque MILON placed 7th at the Youth Olympic Games. His best individual result came in 2009 when he placed second at the Asian Grand Prix on home soil in Dakha. He later competed in the 2010 Asian Games and 2011 World Archery Championships. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, he made his way through to the 1/8 elimination round where he was defeated by the double Olympic bronze medallist from Barcelona Simon TERRY (GBR).

Finally, after placing 9th at the Youth Olympic Games, the Swiss archer Axel MULLER went on to compete on the World Cup circuit as well as the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 European Championships. The 20-year-old grabbed the very last opportunity to win an Olympic spot thanks to a fourth-place finish at the Final Qualification Tournament in Ogden.

Good luck to these talented young archers who have made it to the Olympics!

Links to biographies:
Mariana AVITIA (MEX)
Miranda LEEK (USA)

TAN Ya-Ting (TPE)
Find more information on all the archers on the World Archery website.   World Archery Communication