Rio 2016 team quota places awarded in Copenhagen
The first round of recurve team matches in Copenhagen meant two things for the winners: They all stepped one phase closer to the finals of these World Archery Championships in front of Christiansborg Palace at the weekend – and they all won Olympic quota places for their nations.
While most teams quickly reset – to focus on the rest of the competition at hand – it’s no secret that winning one of those valuable Olympic team invitations was a huge part of this world champs.
Mexico’s women were the first to book their place at the Rio Games, with a straight set win over Spain.
“It wasn’t simple,” said highest individual qualifier in the Mexican team Alejandra Valencia. “We were nervous, we felt the pressure and knew we needed to win. We made it work because we work like a real team.”
Korea, Georgia, China and Japan quickly followed, knocking out France, Italy, USA and DPR Korea each in turn.
Japan’s Yuki Hayashi was more excited – “we were nervous – but luck was on our side! We shot well together, as we usually do as a team.”
On the show target – live broadcast on Danish television and via Archery TV – it looked like Germany would put India out of the Olympic team race in Copenhagen when the successful trio went 3-1 up. But India rallied, winning the back two sets to flip the match around.
India, with Deepika Kumari, won the match and the Olympic quota, 5-3.
Russia did the same to Ukraine on the far end of the field – but the biggest result was at the very end, when the second-seeded Chinese Taipei women collapsed to 15 seed Colombia.
At level, 2-2, Colombia dropped a consistent 54-51 back two sets to beat Chinese Taipei’s 53-49 and win the match 6-2.
“We knew the match was going to be tough. Chinese Taipei is a strong team but we were confident and focused on our work that paid of at the Pan Am Games in Toronto last month,” said Ana Maria Rendon, who collected two medals at that event.
Rendon won individual silver and she, Natalia Sanchez and Maira Sepulveda – the same line-up as in Copenhagen – won team gold.
“Everyone was following the match, seven hours behind, in Colombia – and now we’re celebrating it. The competition doesn’t stop here, though,” added Natalia Sanchez.
For some men’s teams – the competition was over, though. And Korea was nearly one of those, along with the teams in three other matches that went to tense one-arrow shoot-offs in that critical first round.
During the regulation sets, Australia had already beaten Brazil (though Brazil are automatically qualified for Rio as hosts), USA had beaten Canada, the Netherlands posted a straight set win over Austria, and Chinese Taipei had beaten Ukraine.
Korea-Poland, Germany-Spain, China-Japan and the defending Olympic Champion Italy versus India were all drawn at 4-4.
Defending individual Olympic Champion Oh Jin Hyek admitted the Korean team was nervous – but the tight match was all down to the Polish team’s performance.
“Poland shot really well,” he was quick to point out. “But despite the strong wind we got our point and our place. I think we won with the last arrow.”
Oh shot that last arrow. Twenty-nine points for the Korean trio – and a Olympic quota place that few would have thought ever in jeopardy secured.
Winners of the first European Games in Baku Spain beat Germany – and China beat Japan on a closest-to-the-middle measure after the pair tied on sudden death set score.
The defending Olympic Champions, Italy, featuring two returning members from that London medal in Michele Frangilli and Mauro Nespoli – with David Pasqualucci completing the squad – also won their shoot-off, knocking out India.
“The pressure was very high,” said Michele. “I tried to calm down our young new member and he did very well to shoot a 10 with his last arrow.”
Pasqualucci, that young new member, was nothing but complimentary about his veteran teammates.
“Shooting with them is amazing. I know I’m young but Michele and Mauro are strong,” he said – at which point Michele butted in: “He could be my son!”
“Our first goal was to win the quota, so now we can relax for the matches ahead,” Michele concluded.
The top eight individuals in Copenhagen – whose teams have not already won the full (3) quota places – also win a single Olympic invitation for their nations.
Any excess spots that cannot be decided due to drawn final rankings will be resolved on Friday in Copenhagen, when the archers who lost in the round that Olympic places were decided are invited to battle it out for whatever quota remains.
Olympic Quota Places
Australia – 3
Brazil – 3
China – 3
Italy – 3
Korea – 3
Netherlands – 3
Spain – 3
Chinese Taipei – 3
USA – 3
Brazil – 3
China – 3
Colombia – 3
Georgia – 3
India – 3
Japan – 3
Korea – 3
Mexico – 3
Russia – 3