Kazakh team guarantee nation’s 1st World Cup podium
Kazakhstan’s recurve men upset the USA in the first round of team eliminations in Shanghai, before surviving two shoot-offs – against Russia in the quarterfinals and Japan in the semifinals – to make a gold medal match and guarantee the nation its first ever medal on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit.
“This feels great. We’ve really prepared for this,” said Gankin. “It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of shooting. We didn’t do anything special here, just did our best.”
Kazakhstan and the USA were tied at 3-3 heading into the fourth set of their first-round match, where the 15th seeds shot 54 points to the favourite’s 53, springing a run into the brackets. The trio then went 4-0 up over Russia before sevens in both the back sets derailed any chance of a clean victory. Tied at 4-4, Kazakhstan found the middle in the tiebreaker, shooting 29 points to Russia’s 27 and advancing to the final four.
In Gankin, Mussayev and Saidiyev’s best match of the day - they posted a 56-point average for each six arrows – Japan won the last set, 57-56, to force Kazakhstan into another shoot-off.
Japan’s nine, eight and seven wouldn’t cut it against a team that opened with a pair of 10s in the tiebreaker.
Despite shooting a six with the last arrow of the day, Kazakhstan won the semifinal, securing a spot in the gold medal match against Korea and an historic first world medal – on either the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit or World Archery Championships – for the nation.
The first stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 16 to 21 May in Shanghai, China.