World record falls twice during compound team finals in Beijing
Iran, Italy, and Russia all took team gold medals on a good last day of competition for the big para archery nations at the 2017 World Archery Para Championships in Beijing, China.
The opening compound women’s open team bronze medal match between Russia and Italy set the standard to follow.
Russia opened with a perfect end of 60 and followed with ends of 56, 56, and 57, breaking the team match world record with 229 points to Italy’s 217. The previous record was 228 – set by the Iranian women in the semifinal two days prior.
“We are very happy with how we shot. We have a special technique and we'll continue to shoot like this. It gets records,” said Stepanida Artakhinova of Russia.
“In my mind there was never a task to fulfil or a record to break. I just wanted to stick to the technique and shoot well.”
Iran contested all three team gold medal finals on the last day in Beijing, and the women’s compound open match between Iran and China, the first and second seeds, was spectacular.
China opened with a 59 to take a four point lead. But Iran then found its mark, and reeled off ends of 59, 57, and 58 to win by six points.
Incredibly, the team’s total of 229 points matched the world record set just 15 minutes earlier by Russia in the bronze medal match. There is a rule that world records set and matched on the same day are counted as joint world records, so Iran and Russia share the honour.
“This gold medal shows how much we are dedicated to our country and how much we love our country,” said Iran's Somayeh Abbaspour. “This was a dream for me and of course any athlete who wishes to win gold. It’s amazing.”
“The goal was to win a gold medal and we did. China was shooting well, but we kept shooting well too. Thank god everything was perfect and my teammates shot well. Thank god we won!”
The USA’s compound men then beat Russia to the bronze medal, 228-223.
Italy then won men’s team compound final in an incredible match, which saw them come from three points behind to produce ends of 58 and 59 to beat Iran by one, 226-225.
Giampaolo Cancelli said: “We are very happy to win gold for the first time. This is something we keep chasing and we finally caught it. We hope this medal will be the first of many for a long time!”
“We wanted this for so long and now we are truly the best!”
Alberto Simonelli of the Italian team stayed on the field to shoot the mixed team bronze medal match with Eleonora Sarti against John Walker and Phoebe Pine of Great Britain, who just edged out the Italian team 152-151 with a perfect final end of 10-10-10-10.
“Rolly and Eleanora have been my friends for a long time. To face them and come out on top is huge,” said Walker afterwards. Nineteen-year-old Pine, making her international debut, added: “To come home with a medal is beyond my wildest dreams!”
Bridging the two matches, Simonelli shot 11 straight 10s in the finals arena.
The mixed team gold medal match went to Russia over Iran in a tight match that was never more than a point apart.
In the end it was decided with a shoot-off, which Russia won with a superb pair of 10s.
“You get the silver medal when you lose, so I'm sad but the important thing is that I fought for it,” said Abbaspour.
On a day of hard-fought battles, top para archery nations displayed incredible form and set new standards.
The 2017 World Archery Para Championships run 12-17 September in Beijing, China.