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France get two recurve team golds in European medal monopoly

Before today, France had never won a recurve team medal at the World Youth Championships. Now, thanks to their cadets, they have two golds! The Ukrainian women and Russian men completed a European medal sweep.

France upset defending champion, top scoring team in every elimination round and resounding-favourite Korea in the recurve cadet women’s final. After a tied first end, third-seeded France capitalised on a 7 and two 8s from Korea to take a four-point lead at the halfway mark, and still held two of those points going into the final six arrows. In a tense fourth end, Korea had two 8s while France shot 58 points to win gold, 221-217. It was Korea’s lowest match score this week - but the highest of the championships for French archers Laura RUGGIERI, Mélanie GAUBIL and Aurélie CARLIER (photo).

Second-seeded China won bronze in a one-sided match against the defending bronze medallists, Russia. LI Jiaman, ZHANG Lu and WU Jiaxin outscored their opponents in the first three ends - and settled for a comfortable 225-215 win.

“It was a beautiful performance”, said new champion RUGGIERI. “We won against the defending champions and n°1 seed. It is the second time that France has beaten Korea – Thomas KOENIG and I also did it in the mixed team semi-finals. Including the French men’s team's victory in the bronze medal match in Belek, that’s three victories over Korea!”

Inspired by the women’s performance, Thomas KOENIG, Romain FICHET and Mathieu JIMENEZ (main photo) won France a second gold medal. France’s surprising opponents, n°12 Turkey, shot well below their totals - as high as 226 - that upset Russia, the United States and no°1 seed Chinese Taipei in the early rounds. The French trio’s second end in the final made all the difference: with 57 points against 50 for Okras Ege TOKUSOGLU, Berat AYDIN and Mete GAZOZ, France captured a good lead and went on to clinch the match before the final arrow; final score 219-210.

Defending champion Chinese Taipei - CHEN Wei-Chieh, HAN Yun-Chien and LEE Chin-Tang - beat India 216-215 in the bronze medal match.

“These victories are the fruit of a sports policy that we have been preparing for a long time”, explained the French coach Nicolas RIFAUT. “Important groundwork was laid with the coaches in the training structures, and there are many national-level event and competition opportunities. So, the level is very high and places on the French national team are very hard to obtain. We’ve received a nice reward today.”

France still has that third chance to win a world title in the mixed team competition, with cadets Laura RUGGIERI and Thomas KOENIG.

As the wind picked up, Ukrainian junior women Anastasia PAVLOVA, Polina RODIONOVA and Olympian Lidiia SICHENIKOVA (photo) upset a team that had reigned supreme during the last week. Korean archers SIM Yeji, JEON Sungeun and LIM Heeseon - top three qualifiers and new match world record holders who are all shooting for individual medals - failed to defend their country’s two consecutive golds in this event.

The final started with weak scores on both sides. Korea held a small lead from the beginning, which grew into a three-point advantage before the final six arrows. But a Ukrainian 56 in the final end, along with Korea’s 53, forced a shoot-off. Things looked good for Korea at 10-10 against 9-10 before the final arrow. Top individual SIM Yeji then released an 8. Under pressure to score a winning 10, Polina RODIONOVA confidently did what was necessary - and won Ukraine its first gold medal of this championships!

The bronze medal match saw both trios struggle in the wind. With four 10s, host-country China’s LIU Yue, QI Kaiyao and WANG Zedong won the match over Chinese Taipei, the nation that took silver two years ago.

The recurve junior men’s final between the United States and Russia was close during the first three ends, with the Americans leading by one point going into the last six arrows. That’s when disaster hit the team of twins Daniel and Sean McLAUGHLIN and Jeremiah CUSICK: Miss-6-7. Top scorers in the elimination rounds, Russians Galsan BAZARZHAPOV, Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Bolot TSYBZHITOV and Beligto TSYNGUEV (photo) coasted towards the finish line and victory, 216-203. Both countries are back on the podium after missing out in 2011.

Team Netherlands, conqueror of leader Korea earlier in the competition, scored a come-back victory over Belgium to take the bronze medal. Jesher APPELS, Mitch DIELEMANS and world senior team silver medallist Sjef VAN DEN BERG overcame a five-point deficit in the last six arrows, with the help of a disastrous final end from their opponents (49). In the shoot-off - as the Netherlands led 16-15 before the final arrow - VAN DEN BERG released the winning 10.

Stay tuned for the mixed team and individual recurve finals at the World Youth Championships, taking place later today!

World Archery Communication