Demir wins Turkey its first ever Archery World Cup title
The Mexico City 2015 compound men’s gold medal final was one few predicted.
When the top four seeds in the competition all lost in the quarterfinals, a phase highlighted by the upset of top-ranked Mike Schloesser at the hands of Mexican athlete Mario Cardoso, it was left to the bottom of the draw to decide the podium.
Abhishek Verma looked immensely strong when he dealt a perfect 150 on Cardoso in the semifinals, while Demir Elmaagacli – who had taken out USA favourite Reo Wilde – powered past Dominique Genet, to join Verma in the final.
Indian archer Abhishek started just as he’d left off, with a 10 – and a solid 29 for his first end to take a point lead in the gold medal match.
The lead changed hands after each of the following four ends.
A wild eight in the second set from Verma allowed Demir to take the upper hand, 57-56, before Abhishek rallied to shoot a perfect 30. The single-point advantage swapped back to the Indian, the score at 86-85 after nine arrows.
It was at that point in the match when Elmaagacli pulled away.
Two consecutive perfect ends of 30 out of 30 points, and Demir first won back the lead, then put the gold medal out of Verma’s reach. His total score for the 15-arrow match: 145. Abhishek trailed by two, on 143.
“Throughout this year, I have believed in myself,” said Demir. “I was always close, but I couldn’t get it before. Ahead of this event, I worked very hard, I trusted myself and now I accomplished my goal.”
“I’m very happy!”
Turkey had never taken a medal in individual competition at the Archery World Cup Final before 2015. Demir had already made history by making the gold medal match, from the seventh seed no less, let alone winning the entire tournament.
What makes it even more special is that Demir had never won an individual medal at a senior event before.
(He did take mixed team silver at the first World Cup stage of 2015 and was runner-up at the youth worlds in 2008.)
Smiling, like usual, and thrilled with his silver medal, Verma gushed about the 150-point match he shot in the semifinals.
“You never know when the perfect score is going to happen,” he said. “Sometimes you just have a good feeling and this is what happened to me. It’s been a great experience.”
India had also never won a compound medal at an Archery World Cup Final prior to the event.
Dominique Genet took the men’s bronze. He didn’t miss the 10-ring through the first eight arrows of the contest and was already nine points up on Mario Cardoso with three ends shot.
A further six 10s secured the medal, with a 149-point match total, and the 46-year-old Frenchman’s best finish at the Archery World Cup Final to date. He already had a fourth place at Paris 2013 and seventh in Tokyo the year before that.
“This medal is so important because I’ve just returned from surgery. I stopped archery for a year and I didn’t expect to be back at this level,” explained Genet.
Dominique said his quarterfinal against teammate and friend Seb Peineau was tough due to the emotion, and he blamed his semis loss on one bad arrow.
“In that last match, the difference was motivation. I was back on the field and I was angry because I lost the previous one foolishly and wanted to pull myself together.”
Demir Elmaagacli, Abhishek Verma and Dominique Genet: The podium that few predicted, but the one that these three athletes deserved. No doubt, though, that this was one of the most surprising compound Saturdays we’ve had on the Archery World Cup circuit.