6 things from the Rio W1 competitions

17 September 2016
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
It was a Paralympic debut for the W1 women’s division, which Great Britain swept.

A marriage proposal, archery’s only second podium sweep in history and early upsets were just some of the highlights of two busy individual W1 competitions at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

1. Early upsets

Jeff Fabry, 2012 gold medalist, lost by 14 points in the first round of the W1 men’s competition, to Korea’s Koo Dong Sub, 140-126.

“Every games is different,” Fabry said. “You can never predict how you’re going to shoot or what is going to happen.”

Top seed Omer Asik of Turkey had a first round bye and then lost in the second round to Germany’s Uwe Herter.

2. Youngest and oldest

Great Britain had both the youngest and oldest archers in Rio on its squad. Sixteen-year-old Jessica Stretton entered Rio ranked number one in the world and won the gold medal.

“I felt like I was taking a step for the youth that can be in para sport and showing them that it can be done and it will be done,” Stretton said.

John Cavanagh, aged 60, appeared in his fourth Paralympic Games. He was 2004 Paralympic Champion and 2008 silver medallist, but lost in the Rio first-round to Germany’s Uwe Herter.

“I’ve had a great time during this experience,” Cavanagh said. “I started alright, I finished alright. I just didn’t do so well in the middle.”

3. showdown

The W1 men’s gold medal match was tight to the final end. John Walker beat David Drahoninsky, 141-139, in a match where Drahoninsky and Walker kept trading leads.

“That last match as absolutely awesome,” Walker said. “I knew David was going to give me a really good battle. He beat me in Germany last year in the world championships. This is the icing on the cake.”

Walker shot his best in the final end – a perfect 30 – to take the match by two points.

“I hoped that John Walker didn’t make his last arrow, but he is good,” Drahoninsky said. “He shot well. You understand, he has a great team.”

4. Proposal

David Drahoninsky may have won the silver medal, but still rose to the spotlight when, in front of the entire crowd at the Sambodromo, he proposed to his girlfriend of a year, Lida Fikarova. Fikarova had travelled to Rio to watch Drahoninsky compete.

She said yes.

Drahoninsky gave both the engagement ring and his silver medal to Fikarova.

“She is the woman I like and she is amazing,” Drahoninsky said. "I am lucky at least in Rio I could give a surprise for my girlfriend. But people know that women don’t like surprises. I have five days of life before I return to the Czech Republic, after that she may kill me.”

5. Dominance

Team GB had three of the eight competitors in the W1 women’s field. Jessica Stretton, Jo Frith and Vicky Jenkins entered Rio ranked 1-2-3 in the world and finished that way. Stretton and Jenkins faced off in the semifinals and Stretton won 141-131. Stretton beat Frith 137-124 and Jenkins won the bronze, making it an all-Brit podium.

"We were hoping we were going to do that,” Frith said. “But fair play to Vicky, she's been in the hospital for the last thee days. To come out here and take the bronze and make it a one-two-three was absolutely amazing."

6. Recovery

Bronze medalist Vicky Jenkins almost didn’t make it to the competition. The 39-year-old woke up on Monday with neurological problems and chronic pain, more than usual. She spent two days in Victoria Hospital and is feeling much better now.

“Well this definitely helps, getting a bronze medal,” Jenkins said. Jenkins was released from the hospital on Friday night. On Saturday morning, they decided she would be able to shoot.

“At one point I thought, oh this is all over, after all this training,” Jenkins said. “I took it one day at a time and we got there and I got here today.”

Jenkins beat Korea’s Kim Ok Geum 125-124 in the bronze medal match.

The para archery competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games runs 10-17 September in the Sambodromo.