Italy’s “best team” takes 1st World Cup medal in 7 years
Italy’s Mauro Nespoli, Marco Galiazzo and David Pasqualucci beat underdog-favourites Kazakhstan in a four-set recurve men’s team final at the Hyundai Archery World Cup leg in Antalya, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit by putting on an impressive show in the wind-swept finals arena.
Kazakhstan had won its first ever circuit medal by beating Korea in the final at stage one in Shanghai.
“Kazakhstan as a team have strong, young archers that really want to win. Shooting against them individually or with the team is always a tough job – but I’m really happy this first event of the season for us finished with the highest step of the podium,” said Italian head coach Wietse van Alten.
Korea won the Olympic men’s team title in 2016, and Italy in 2012.
After Kazakhstan took the first set, 55-53, it looked like the upstart nation might have a chance at slaying an Olympic Champion – Nespoli and Galiazzo were part of that gold medal team – for a second stage in a row.
But the Italians tightened their belts, put in a pretty 58-point second set, then took the third, 56-54, despite a Galiazzo seven. In the fourth set, it landed on Nespoli to shoot an eight to win – and that’s exactly what he did, mid-left.
“It wasn’t the wind. Our techniques weren’t as strong as we needed them to be,“ said Denis Gankin.
Pasqualucci added that although they were expecting the wind to move the arrows, the team didn’t have to move their sights much, if at all.
Outside of the Olympic title in 2012, and a silver at the World Archery Championships in 2015, and a host of talented individual archers, it had been seven years since Italy had climbed the podium on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit.
“Here there are two guys that are very experienced and one who is young, and very talented. But this team is a team – and the secret is not always taking the best archers, but taking the best team,” said Wietse.
Japan beat Germany to recurve men’s team bronze in three sets.
The second stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 6 to 11 June in Antalya, Turkey.