Italy wins three shoot-offs in a row to make final
Winning a shoot-off is always exciting, but three in a row is just unbelievable – and lucky, too.
The Italian recurve men team must have a lot of it on their side.
Experienced Mauro Nespoli and Michele Frangilli, and newbie David Pasqualucci, Italy – the reigning Olympic Champions – won a quota place for Rio 2016 this morning. They said it was the main goal of this tournament, and secured it in a one-arrow shoot-off over India.
The match was tied at four sets.
India shot 10, nine and seven, while Italy shot X, 10, nine to quarterfinals.
Their next opponent: China.
The Chinese team and Italy tied the match in four sets, too, putting Italy into its second shoot-off of the day.
Both China and Italy shot three nines – tight, but event tighter than you might think.
The first arrows of both teams landed at the same distance away from the centre of the target, the second were measured – and they were found to be exactly the same distance from the centre, too.
For the first time at an international event since the rule came into effect, the third arrows were measured – and they were nearly identical, too… but Italy’s was just one millimetre closer, and confirmed the winner.
“The pressure was high,” Frangilli admitted.
The pressure went even higher when Italy tied the semifinal match against Chinese Taipei, once again.
“In this competition it seems the shoot-off is our job,” he added, laughing. “We’re shooting good. The wind is not easy but – let’s go to the final.”
Eight, 10 and nine for the Asian team against a 10, nine and 10 gave Italy a third consecutive shoot-off win on the day and a chance to go for gold on Sunday in front of the Danish Parliament.
The last arrow sealed it, and Frangilli was the archer behind the shaft: “It’s my job, since the London Olympics.”
Michele shot the 10 that secured Olympic gold for he and Nespoli in the team event at the last Games.
Italy’s opponent in the final: Korea. A team they are very familiar with. “It’s important to continue with our shooting every time, every arrow,” top individual seed Nespoli said.
“These matches went to shoot-offs, but next time we’ll try to do it in less ends. We know Korea is Korea, but we are ready for them.”
Korea’s men – who also won a spot for the next Games in a first-round shoot-off against Poland – beat both Spain and United States, 5-1, to win their quarterfinal and semifinal matches, respectively.
The Korean recurve women’s team did not fare so well – when Russia, who had dispatched Mexico in straight sets, upset them by a point in the semis.
“I shot my last arrow very fast and it just worked,” a clearly surprised Inna Stepanova said.
“We are satisfied with our shooting and we really want the gold.”
Russia will shoot against India – another team that won a shoot-off for the finals berth, this time over Japan.
“I shot a four in the third set and I was so scared about it because they were shooting strong,” Deepika Kumari confessed. “I’m glad that we were able to take control of the situation and shot three 10s in the shoot-off.”
The Indians promised a show in the gold medal match.
“We will give the fight until the end,” Rimil Buriuly said.
“We are surprised Russia beat Korea; it showed how strong they are. It would definitely be a great match to win – but it’s going to be tough!”