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What a first final for Maja JAGER

While strong and unpredictable winds raged, recurve individual eliminations reduced 32 men and women archers to finalists at the Belek Antalya World Championships.

Made obvious by the lack of perfect 30s scored, archers were clearly disturbed by the extreme conditions. Only five archers managed to shoot a 10-10-10 set over the four rounds: Khairul Anuar MOHAMAD and LEE Seungyun in the men, and CHANG Hye Jin, Inna STEPANOVA and YUN Ok Hee in the women.

Women
Today's individual eliminations can be summarised in two names: wind and Maja JAGER (main photo)! The 21-year old Danish archer reached the gold final of the World Championships after eliminating Anastasia PAVLOVA (UKR), Natalia ERDYNIEVA (RUS) and the two Korean favourites: Olympic Champion KI Bo Bae and World Cup Final gold medallist YUN Ok Hee. It was not an easy journey - as JAGER had to win single-arrow shoot-offs in the 1/8 round against ERDYNIEVA and in her quarter-finals match against KI.

In the final she will meet Olympic team silver medallist XU Jing (photo) from China, who also won two team medals at the 2013 Medellin World Cup. XU's path was not easy, either: she overcame Amy OLIVER (GBR), TAN Ya-TING (TPE), World Cup Finalist Inna STEPANOVA (RUS) and Karina WINTER (GER). The Chinese's 1/8-round unpredictable victory over TAN was eventually decided in a shoot-off, 8 to 7.

YUN, Korean World Cup Champion, will face 27-year-old German WINTER for bronze. Neither these two athletes, nor the pair contesting gold, have ever faced each other before in international competition.

Before the medal contenders were sifted from the pack, World Cup Final silver medallist Deepika KUMARI (IND) was beaten by Mariana AVITIA (MEX) in the 1/16 round. Olympic bronze medallist AVITIA, who returned to the last World Cup stage of the season after a medical absence, was then defeated by Inna STEPANOVA in the 1/8 elimination.

In the 1/16 round, AVITIA's Mexican teammates and World Cup Finalists, Aída ROMAN and Alejandra VALENCIA had been drawn against each other. Despite ROMAN taking a commanding 5-1 lead, VALENCIA recovered to win in a shoot-off.

Meanwhile, Khatuna LORIG (USA) was engaged in a tight fight with Ayano KATO (JPN), in which LORIG finally triumphed. LORIG went no further, though. Suffering from the wind, she lost three quick sets to CHANG Hye (KOR) in the 1/8 round. The American will have an opportunity to win the mixed team event next Sunday.

Before being beaten by XU in the semi-finals, Karina WINTER eliminated third Korean CHANG Hye Jin, though both archers found the deciding set difficult. Final score: 7-1.

Sarah NIKITIN (BRA) - newcomer to this stage and first participation at a World Championships - eliminated Naomi FOLKARD (GBR) in the 1/16 round, and Alejandra VALENCIA in the 1/8 round in a shoot-off. Her hopes for a medal were dashed in the quarter-finals, though - when she lost to YUN Ok Hee (KOR). NIKITIN will now focus on preparing for a home Olympics at Rio 2016.

Men
An all-Korean final was expected, and an all-Korean final is what we will get on Sunday: World Cup winner OH Jin Hyek and 18-year-old LEE Seungyun (photo) braved wind and tough opponents to emerge as gold medal finalists.

OH beat Marcus CARVALHO (BRA) then Tarundeep RAI (IND) in the first two rounds, before eliminating Taylor WORTH (AUS) in the quarter-finals - and Crispin DUENAS (CAN) to seal his spot in the final. Opponents that fell to LEE: 2008 Olympic champion Viktor RUBAN (UKR), Luis ALVAREZ (MEX), Jay LYON (CAN) - and World Cup Final silver medallist DAI Xiaoxiang (CHN) in the semi-finals.

In Sunday's bronze match, DUENAS (photo) and DAI will face each other in their first competition encounter. “I just stuck to my shooting plan in this torrential wind. This is the most difficult wind I've ever shot in, in my life. But I'm excited to be going back to one of the medal matches, the last time I did it was at the Ogden World Cup a couple of years ago. I've never been to a medal match at a World Championships. I'm pretty excited”, DUENAS explained. “Archers' abilities were tested today. The winds were probably pushing 60-80km/h, and archers were still shooting high scores. I think it is very impressive”.

Despite their excellent 2013 season, Sunday will mark the first time OH and LEE have shot against each other on the world scene.

In the 1/16 round, Domingos REPAS (POR) beat Brady ELLISON's executioner: Alexander LIAHUSHEV (BLR). REPAS could go no further; he was soundly beaten by Taylor WORTH in the next round. The 1/16 round brought some interesting upsets: Mauro NESPOLI (ITA) was eliminated by Markiyan IVASHKO (UKR), Gaël PREVOST (FRA) was pushed out by Jay LYON. Luis ALVAREZ (MEX) was stronger that Jayanta TALUKDAR (IND) in the game against the wind, and IM Dong Hyun started the morning by beating Juan René SERRANO (MEX).

IM did not shoot well in the last set of his 1/8 round match against Paris Finalist Khairul Anuar MOHAMAD (MAS), but it was enough to qualify him for the quarter-finals. Canadian LYON won one more match this morning before losing to LEE: he defeated another North American, Joe FANCHIN (USA). Jean-Charles VALLADONT took victory over Rick VAN DER VEN, and Crispin DUENAS advanced over Markiyan IVASHKO (UKR) after a shoot-off.

The quarter-finals were the last step for VALLADONT and IM: the French archer received a final punishing arrow from DUENAS in a shoot-off, and the Korean lost against Asian neighbour DAI.

Recurve team eliminations follow this afternoon. Compound team eliminations take place on Friday morning.

World Archery Communication