Kozhokar, Budaeva take world junior indoor recurve titles
Ivan Kozhokar of Ukraine and Russia’s Ariuna Budaeva became the recurve junior men’s and women’s World Archery Indoor Champions in Yankton, in high-quality final matches that stayed tight until the closing arrows.
“I have practiced many many hours. We developed all the possible situations in practice, all the ways it could go,” said Kozhokar. “I was ready for a match like that.”
Mete Gazoz, who represented Turkey at Rio 2016 was up against Kozhokar in the latter’s second appearance of the morning after losing the team final - one of five recurve finals matches for the Ukrainian contingent.
After a slow start that saw them take a set each, Kozhokar took the third with a 29, before both shot ends of 30 points to put the match at 5-3. Again, both archers appeared to clean the slate, but one of the Ukrainian’s arrows was ruled a nine by the judges and a shoot-off was called.
Mete shot first, landing a mid-10 in the top left of the central ring.
Ivan stepped up – and delivered a clean, better arrow, the best shoot-off 10 of the morning. There was no question about the winner.
A bullish Kozhokar was in no doubt as to what had won him the title.
“My feelings were so organised,” he said. “I was so confident with my form, with my shooting, that I knew I had the potential for every shot to be a 10. All I had to do was make it happen.”
The women’s side of the bracket was dominated by a talented crop of young athletes from Russia. The recurve junior women’s gold medal match was contested between teammates Svetlana Gomboeva and Ariuna Budaeva, both 19 years old.
The pair shot strongly and consistently to pull the match to 4-4, before Budaeva managed to pull out a 30 in the final end to take down the win over her teammate.
“It’s always difficult to shoot against your teammate. On the shooting line we are rivals, but behind the shooting line, in life, we are great friends.” she said. “It was pretty difficult to shoot the last arrow (of the last end). I felt like I was holding too long, but just tried to keep pulling.”
“I want to move on, to keep working on myself, to get rid of the mistakes, and to become better and better.”
Sandra Garza of Mexico beat Russia’s Tatiana Plotnikova of Russia in a bronze medal match that went to a shootoff. Platnikova, despite a little more international experience than Garza, shot a six in the shootoff to allow her opponent to take the match.
The 2018 World Archery Indoor Championships takes place in Yankton, USA on 14-19 February.