An Olympics on home soil: Team Brazil review
For the first time in history, the Olympic Games were awarded to South America.
Brazil, the country hosting the event, automatically received quota places for six athletes – three men and three women – to the archery competition. Marcus D’Almeida, Bernardo Oliveira, Daniel Xavier, Ane Marcelle Dos Santos, Sarah Nikitin and Marina Canetta won the privilege of representing their country’s interests after six-month long trials.
After the second elimination day in the Sambodromo, all the Brazilian team has taken to the field for early-round matches. One athlete remains in the competition: Ane Marcelle, the 22 year-old samba dancer, made it into the last 16 and has the chance to shoot on finals day on 11 August.
Archer-by-archer, here’s Brazil’s retrospective of the competition (so far)…
Ane is the only athlete from Brazil still in the Olympic competition after two rounds. She already made history for getting so far. If she makes it any further, she’ll get the whole Sambodromo dancing.
“Competing at my first Olympics and making it to the third round was my goal. Now that I have achieved that, I would like go further and be in the semis,” she said.
“If there’s something that will stay for ever in my mind is my first individual match against Saori Nagamine from Japan. With her last arrow, she shot a one and I knew I needed to shoot the yellow ring to win and I did. Winning it, was the best feeling ever!”
In that match, Ane was leading Saori 5-3.
Ane was wayward in the last set, shooting a seven and a five – but then Saori opened the door, totalling just 19 for three arrows and giving Ane one last chance.
An eight would have been enough, but the Rio girl shot a 10.
“Being part of Brazil’s Olympic team can only be described in one word: Pride,” Ane added.
“There are many athletes that dream about competing at the Olympics, but only a few of them get the chance to do it at home. I had this opportunity, and shooting 10s and winning a match, fighting until the end in front of this great crowd, is one of the best feelings I have had, it was incredible,” Bernardo said.
“If there’s anything I will remember, I think it would be the match with the team where I shot a 10 and the crowd went crazy. Hearing my name and Brazil so loud, wow, that will remain with me forever!”
A silver medallist at Youth Olympic Games in 2014, Marcus became the poster boy for archery in the lead-up Games. In his first match, he lost to Jake Kaminski of the USA, 6-2. It wasn’t the ending he wanted – but the experience, Marcus said, was great.
“I have enjoyed every moment, this is definitely a great experience for us for the future ahead. Right now, I think I want to take a moment for myself and work more. If there’s something I’ve learnt from my individual match against Jake it is that you train hard for four years… for 10 minutes,” he said.
“The match against Jake – I will remember it – it was one of those that I really enjoyed. It was like saying to myself: ‘Yes, this is what I love to do’.”
“The dream continues..."
Marina Canetta lost to Chinese athlete Qi Yuhong, 7-1, in the first round. Ready to support her teammates, she described the Olympics as incomparable.
“This journey has been amazing and completely different from what I thought it could be. It’s been more exciting than any other international event,” Marina said.
“Despite the results, I feel satisfied with my performance. I think I will always remember the support of the people in the stands. That sound, if I close my eyes, I can still hear it.”
The best part of hosting the Games, said Marina, is the visibility that it brings to the sport as many people watched, supported – and even asked where they could start practising.
“There’s hope, there’s a future and there’s the capability in Brazil to make archery a great sport.”
A bronze medallist in 2014 at the South American Games in Chile, Sarah was beaten by DPR Korea athlete Kang Un Ju in the first round.
“I’m grateful to have been part of this historic archery team in our country. Being on the finals field with the crowd cheering on us is a moment worth keeping alive in my mind,” she said.
Of all the Brazilian team, Daniel was the only athlete with previous Olympic experience – from London in 2012.
“The Games in Rio have been an amazing and unique experience because we are not used to have such a great support on site, as archery is not so big in Brazil. This is something huge and it will help us a lot in the future of the sport,” he said.
“The best thing about the Olympics is being part of this team. This was a nearly-five-year process, during which we have become closer and united. This is something that will not stop after the Games and this is what makes it worth it: Them, my teammates and all the members on the team.”
The women’s individual finals take place on 11 August at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.