Lopez to shoot Vegas open division

14 December 2016
Las Vegas, NV (USA)
The open division mixes championship compound men and women together for the first time.

Sara Lopez has raised the international compound women’s game ever since she climbed the podium for the first time in 2013. She won the 2014 and 2015 Hyundai Archery World Cup Finals, becoming the first female athlete to do so in consecutive years.

Lopez holds 11 world records and has sat in the number one spot in the world rankings since 2015.

With the announcement from the NFAA, the organisers of The Vegas Shoot, that the 2017 edition of the tournament will feature a new mixed-gender category in the compound championship competition, Sara Lopez has announced she’ll enter.

She finished second and third in 2014 and 2015, in the women’s event, and will shoot against the top men in the world in 2017 – for the USD $51,000 top prize.

“I wanted to do it two years ago when I finished second in the women’s division, but it was not possible back then. I have always wanted to face a challenge this big and prove to myself that I’m capable of great things,” said Sara.

“I’m not doing this to prove something to other people, I just want to see what I’m capable of.”

The 51st edition of the Vegas Shoot, and fourth stage of the 2016/17 Indoor Archery World Cup Final, will take place in Las Vegas on 10-12 February.

During the competition, which lasts three days, archers shoot 30 arrows per day (for a total of 90) at triangle-layout indoor triple-spot target faces. Both recurve and compound archers use the large, 4cm recurve 10-ring and can attain a maximum score of 900 points.

Usually a number of top compound men score 900 and enter a shoot-down for the grand prize, where all remaining competitors continue to shoot ends of three arrows, with the lowest-scoring eliminated after each end.

According to the NFAA, only two women have ever shot a perfect 900 points at the event – Mary Zorn in 2010 and Sarah Lance in 2014.

“The Vegas Shoot has grown year after year and our unique competition structure has to evolve to cater for the increasing demand,” said NFAA President Bruce Cull. Over 3,000 archers attended, for the first time, in 2016 – and the event is expected to grow again in the upcoming year.

“The championship open division gives both men and women the opportunity to compete for The Vegas Shoot’s largest prize. Gender is not a boundary in archery and this move is intended to empower our female entrants to take advantage of that equality in the sport.”

Sara hopes to shoot 900 in Vegas – but that’s not the only goal.

“I already started to prepare myself and learn to handle my nerves but, to be honest, it wouldn’t bother me not to shoot perfect. I just want to show what we, women, are capable of,” said Sara.

“I would definitely love to face this challenge with someone else. For me, the prize is not important – it will be great training for 2017 and, being the first time women compete with men, a good story in the future,” she said.

“Our job as female compounders is to work towards equality with the men. To obtain the same conditions, the same results and prove what we can achieve. Maybe, one day, we’ll get to shoot the Hyundai Archery World Cup in an open division. Who knows?”

Lopez’ first challenge, though, is to find a venue in which to practise.

In Colombia, indoor archery is not widespread as the stable climate allows for outdoor archery all-year-round. With one month to go, the world number one has an historic competition to prepare for.