Ankara 2016: 10 Things you Need to Know
The last indoor event of the 2015-16 winter season brings the chance at World Archery Champion titles for the some 35 teams that made the trip to the Turkish capital, Ankara. In an Olympic year, it’s the first thermometer we’ll get, measuring who’s hot, who’s not, as Rio 2016 approaches.
1. Championship Week
Qualification takes place on Wednesday, with each athlete shooting the standard 60-arrow indoor ranking round on the 18-metre field, which – in Ankara – stretches for 50 targets. Individual eliminations for the top 32 individual qualifiers in each category run on Thursday, then knock-outs for teams on Friday.
Saturday sees recurve finalists take to the finals field, live on Archery TV, with the juniors in the morning and seniors in the afternoon – before the compounds take centre stage on Sunday.
2. THREE Names to Watch
Rod Menzer : The 2008 World Archery Field Champion hasn’t donned the Team USA shirt in quite a while. The depth of the States’ compound men’s squad is well known – Menzer a dark horse for the podium in Ankara?
Esmaeil Ebadi : Since winning the Asian Games at the end of 2014, Ebadi’s been a name to watch in competition. He shot his first indoor 590+ of the year in Nimes. A second, in Ankara, would see him high enough to make noise in the brackets.
The Mandias : Brother and sister pair Mass and Claudia, who’ve been shooting since early in their junior days, have been placing higher and higher in qualification recently. Claudia even matched the indoor world record in Nimes, on the same day it was broken by an archer from Korea on the same field.
3. Pagni Defends
Three of the four reigning senior World Archery Indoor Champions will not return to defend their titles in Ankara. Aida Roman, Ryan Tyack and Sophie Dodemont’s crowns all expire with no chance of renewal while the Italian Sultan of Smooth, Sergio Pagni, will compete for a second consecutive.
Pagni recently became the first Lucky Dog to win the famous Vegas Shoot, at that event’s 50th anniversary.
4. Upward Trend
Throughout recent indoor seasons and particularly since the launch of the Indoor Archery World Cup, we’ve seen the level of qualification scores increase higher and higher, culminating in multiple new 60-arrow world records. The best measure of ranking round level, though, is the 32nd place cut to make the head-to-heads.
Two years ago, the average score required over the four senior categories was 572… and a quarter. The field in Ankara is smaller – but that’s not to say the cuts still won’t increase.
5. Next record to fall?
It’s been three years in a row, now, that a world best has fallen every year. First was Erika Jones, in ’14, with 595/600. Then came Mike Schloesser one year later – when he shot his perfect-600 round.
At the third stage of the 2015/16 Indoor Archery World Cup season, Park Sehui posted 594 to set that third world record. Sehui – a recurve woman – plus Schloesser and Jones, both compounders. Just the recurve men’s record, which has been held by Michele Frangilli at 597 since 2001, left to go…
…and Brady Ellison has been hovering there or thereabouts in score for quite some time!
6. Ukraine: Recurve Team Podiums
At the world indoors two years ago in Nimes, the Ukrainian recurve squad appeared in an incredible four out of four recurve gold medal matches, both junior and senior. The adult men’s and women’s trios both won their finals, while the juniors had silver.
In Ankara, Ukraine fields full teams in all four of the recurve events once again.
7. Olympic Preparation
Some recurve archers, qualified or not, chose to skip the world indoors because they’re sticking to 70 metres and the Olympic distance. Rio is on the horizon, after all. (Just six months to go!)
Others, meanwhile, have made the trip to Ankara for the stiff competition practice indoor matches offer. Many recurve head-to-heads over 18 metres, which are decided using the set system, can be won over as little as a point. There’s nothing better than intense pressure for training mental game.
It might be 52 metres shy of Olympic glory, but shooting in Ankara might just be some of the best Olympic preparation these recurve archers will get.
8. Last Junior Appearances
Carlo Schmitz, second placed junior recurve man at Nimes 2014, made the jump to the senior ranks in time for the world indoors in ’16. Many of the medallists from two years ago, though, return in the youth categories in Ankara.
A top performance over 18 metres is a top performance at any age, however – and there’ll be more than one junior podium climber that we’ll see take a leap over the next 12 months and emerge at senior events. It’s just predicting who…
9. Focusing on Sport
After the recent sad incident in Ankara, security at the tournament venue is higher than usual. The Turkish organising committee has done a fantastic job in a short time of preparating the shooting hall, practice hall and accommodation for the arrival of the international athletes competing at the World Archery Indoor Championships.
While the security staff focus on keeping the event safe, the athletes can focus on what they’re in Ankara to do: Compete for world champion titles.
10. Where to Watch
We’ll be live from the competition all week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, publishing news and results at WorldArchery.Org – and live on Archery TV, World Archery’s official YouTube channel all day on 5/6 March. Tune in!