Nottingham 2016: 10 athletes to watch
The 2016 European Archery Championships, the 24th edition of the event, is also the continental qualifying tournament for Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
It’s the second time the Europeans has been held in Great Britain. The first was in Stoneleigh in 1978.
Qualification takes place at The University of Nottingham Highfields grounds before the finals move to the historic Old Market Square in the heart of the city. Competition begins on Tuesday 24 May, and we’ve picked out 10 archers you might be hearing about throughout this week…
Former recurve archer Irene Franchini collected her first individual compound world title at the 2016 World Archery Indoor Championships in Ankara, Turkey in March.
Just one week ago, at her first outdoor event of the season, during the second stage of the year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin, she won bronze with the Italian compound women’s team and finished ninth individually. At her first European Archery Championships as a compound archer her expectations are nothing more than enjoying herself.
“I don’t want to have any particular expectations,” said Irene. “I want to shoot the best I can and see what happens. I used to worry a lot about the results, so now I’m trying to be more relaxed. I’m changing my mindset for competitions so I just can shoot and enjoy. This helped me in Ankara and would like to continue like this.”
Reigning European Archery Champion Peter Elzinga has finished in the top 10 at all the indoor and outdoor Hyundai Archery World Cup stages in 2016 – landing fourth in Shanghai to open the season.
Defending a title plus good recent results… worth keeping an eye on.
3. MAJA JAGER
Baku 2015 European Games silver medallist Maja is one of Denmark’s hopefuls in Nottingham to win a women’s place for the Olympic Games. She qualified ninth and finished fourth during the first leg of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai.
She won gold at the Summer Universiade in Gwangju, Korea in 2015.
Triple Olympian Larry is the most experienced man on the British squad, experience that will get the Brits focused on the big goal: qualifying a spot for the Rio on home soil.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” said Larry. “It’s the first Europeans I’m doing at home so it has its own benefit and excitement and, of course, the chance of winning an Olympic spot for our country on home soil is fantastic. Hopefully the crowd will be behind us and push us on to get it.”
Seb Peineau is one of the compound men of the moment. After becoming a full-time archer three months ago in February, the world number eight became World Archery Indoor Champion in Ankara, Turkey. He won gold in the mixed team event in Shanghai and bronze with the compound men’s team in Medellin.
He was third at the last Europeans.
Shooting his sophomore year internationally, Liechtenstein’s Marvin Grischke has a personal goal with a deadline closing in. He wants to make the Olympic minimum qualifying score for Rio 2016 before 11 July, which is 630 points on the 72-arrow, 70-metre round for men.
In Nottingham, Marvin has an opportunity to do that.
If he succeeds, he’ll be a step closer in his application for one of the six tripartite places that archery has for the Olympics and represent Liechtenstein for the first time ever in archery at the Games.
“Conditions here will be difficult, so we’ll see what happens. If I make it here great, but if not, we’ll keep trying. It’s not my main goal here and I still have some other events ahead to make it as well,” said Marvin.
7. NAOMI JONES
Thirty-one year-old Naomi Jones started her international archery career in 2010. Currently training in the Netherlands – her partner is there – Naomi was the most consistent of the British compound women during the indoor season.
At all three big stops so far in ’16 – Nimes, Las Vegas and Shanghai – she has finished 17th. Will she jump through to the quarters on home soil?
Last time Olympian Emanuele competed at an European Archery Championships was four years ago in Amsterdam, which was also the qualifying tournament for that year’s Olympic Games in London, UK. Back then, he finished 57th, then received a tripartite place, and then came 33rd in London 2012.
He has another chance to win an Olympic place for San Marino in Nottingham, and improve his position from four years ago.
9. ANA UMER
Ana Umer is the only Slovenian recurve woman competing at the Europeans this year, which means she’s also the only one that can win her country an Olympic spot for Rio 2016.
After the European Field Archery Championships in 2015 and the Veronica’s Cup world ranking event on 23/24 April this year, which both ended in gold medals, Ana’s on the right path.
10. SARAH SONNICHSEN
In what’s been the year so far, 21 year-old Sarah Sonnichsen has qualified for at least one final at each of the four international events she competed at.
She won Las Vegas 2016 Indoor Archery World Cup and she became World Archery Indoor Champion with Denmark’s compound women’s team in Ankara, Turkey. In Shanghai, at the first leg of this year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit, she claimed another compound women’s team title and an individual silver.
In Medellin, she shot for bronze against Marcela Toniolli from Italy but lost by one, 142-143.
Results like that speak for themselves: Sarah is on a roll.