Meet the team: World Archery Champion Colombia
Six months after claiming Colombia its second World Archery Champion title in the compound women’s competition in Mexico City, Sara Lopez, Alejandra Usquiano and Nora Valdez return to compete at the first stage of the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai, China on 23-29 April.
The Colombian trio, with contributions from Aura Maria Bravo and Maja Marcen over recent years, have maintained a status as one of the world’s most competitive squads since the first world title they won in Turkey in 2013.
Through five years, Colombia’s compound women’s team has won more than 15 medals – gold, silver and bronze – on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit.
A young and fearless team, this group of young women shows no sign of slowing down.
Lopez is a three-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Final Champion and a seven-time world medallist at all levels; Usquiano, a one-time World Cup Final Champion and two-time world medallist; Valdez, the newest member of the team, a silver from the 2018 Indoor World Cup Final in Vegas with three world medals.
The girls’ goal in 2018: solidify a position as the strongest team in the Americas.
How does it feel to be back to competition?
Sara: “It’s good to be back together because we like shooting as a team. The World Champion title helped us a lot because it was great to live it together, but we want to do it even better than that.”
“This year we have had national competitions and shot against each other, but we have clear what our goal of the year is, and that is to win at other World Cup events and at different continental tournaments that we’ll have.”
Do you feel pressure for the upcoming season?
Alejandra: “I wouldn’t say pressure. I think we want to continue proving that we are a very strong team, that we work hard and we do it step by step. I think this is more a preparation for the busy season ahead this year, and of course we do have expectations but it doesn’t bring us any pressure.”
What do you like about Shanghai?
Nora: “Every time we come to Shanghai, we go back home with a good experience. The culture is different, it’s far away from home and that makes this event exciting for us.”
Alejandra: “I will add that the weather is comfortable, is not too sunny, not too cold. It reminds us of the weather in Colombia because we feel good shooting here.”
How do you see the team performing this year?
Sara: “This will be a busy year for us and we might only make it to two World Cup stages. We have the Central American and Caribbean Games, where we want to prove that we are one of the strongest teams in the continent. We have worked hard, we want to win and that’s why we are always training hard.”
Living in different cities, how do you train together?
Nora: “We have always had a good relationship and communication between us no matter how far away we are from each other. We also have different training camps throughout year so we can practice as a team, which is something that has helped us a lot, too.”
Alejandra: “It also helps that we have a lot of respect for each other, there’s admiration and the friendship we have helps us be a team.”
What does the Colombian team do differently?
Sara: “We enjoy our competition. We always try to smile, give our best and live our dream, because this is our dream. We wanted to be the best in the world and it’s something we have achieved twice. We always learn from each experience, good or bad, and as a team, this makes us stronger. We know that when we lose, there’s always more opportunities to come.”
“I think it’s energy and happiness what differentiates us from other teams.”
Do you do something else apart from archery?
Sara: “I study medicine and enjoy playing with my dogs and cats.”
Nora: “I study film and television, and I also like spending some time on photography.”
Alejandra: “I just finished my studies in physiotherapy, just missing my degree, and now I’m planning to take media and communications studies. We’ll see how it goes.”
The first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place in Shanghai, China on 23-29 April.