We are closer, more united, says team finalist Betancur

11 September 2015
Medellin (COL)
Colombia’s recurve men made their first medal match at an Archery World Cup event – and in the perfect setting.

On home soil, in Medellin, the Colombian recurve squad made its first final in the men’s competition.

While Colombia’s women qualified a full team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games during the main qualifying tournament in Copenhagen earlier in the summer of 2015, the men had never before been of quite the same level.

At the fourth stage of the Archery World Cup, Colombia’s recurve women lost in the first round, while the men made the bronze medal match.

“We worked differently from how we had been working as a team,” explained Daniel Betancur. “We were closer, more united and supported each other better.”

After qualifying just 14th – the cut for team events is 16 – Betancur, Andres Pila and Daniel Pineda faced third seed Chinese Taipei in the first round. The Colombian trio outshot their ranking.

Colombia took the first set with 56, out of 60 and one point more than their opponents. The two teams split the second at 57 each – then another 56-55, in the home team’s favour, in the third sealed the match, 5-1.

Save a small hiccup in the third set of a quarterfinal against Malaysia, when they scored just 47 points, Colombia looked strong for a second match in a row, winning 6-2 and advancing to a first final four in the team’s history.

It would be a final shooting for bronze, rather than gold, after the second-seeded USA team took their semifinal in four sets – but a final nonetheless.

“It’s an historic day for us,” confirmed Betancur. “The support we had for each other was vital to get the results because stepping onto the shooting line can come with a lot of pressure. Having the support of the team is important because you can help each other through, even if you slightly screw up!”

While there will be no doubt as to whom the crowd favours when they step into the Medellin finals arena to shoot for the podium, it’s the shooting that the Colombian team will focus on.

“I think the location makes no difference," he said. “The only things that might help are knowing the climate and the support, but everything else is basically the same. The results come from us as a team.”

Their bronze medal match opponent in Medellin is China, who beat Spain in a quarterfinal shoot-off before losing to Korea in straight sets in the semis.

The USA faces the Korean second team for gold. Both Brady Ellison and Im Dong Hyun were part of their respective squads when the two teams met in the semifinals of the London 2012 Olympic Games, a match that the States won.