Dutch finalists in Salt Lake: Wijler shoots for gold, Bayardo for bronze
Dutch archers Steve Wijler and Gabriela Bayardo made the individual medal matches at the third stage of the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Salt Lake City, USA; Wijler shoots for gold, Bayardo for bronze.
“I had a bit of a struggle with the qualification round but today was a really good day. I had a lot of confidence coming here. I did some really good scores in practice. I’m really happy it worked out,” said the 21-year-old, who burst onto the scene in 2017 when he won Shanghai on his international debut.
“Last year I had to shoot against Kim Woojin but I had never heard of the guy so I just wanted to shoot and have fun. My approach here will be the same. I’ll do my best and hope that I can get the gold.”
Wijler faces Mauro Nespoli of Italy for the recurve men’s title at stage three, with the winner automatically qualifying for the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Samsun, Turkey.
“Mauro is a really great opponent. He did a lot of good things in his career but I hope that I can beat him on a good day. He won from me in Shanghai and I was really upset about it so I have some things to settle,” added Wijler.
In the 13-year history of the international archery tour, the Netherlands had never had a recurve woman contest an individual World Cup medal.
Enter Gabriela Bayardo, a member of the Mexican team that shot in the Rio Olympics, who moved to Europe and shot in a Dutch shirt for the first time in Salt Lake City. She qualified eighth – a career high – and knocked out top-ranked German archer Lisa Unruh in the quarterfinals to spring her first final-four finish on the tour.
“I’m very happy. It’s my first ever big result,” said Bayardo. “I’m a bit sad, though, because I was winning 4-2 [in the semifinals], but Deepika [Kumari] is a great archer and I respect that she won.”
“I was nervous. This is the first time I get this far in the brackets so I was thinking too much on the gold medal and I got distracted. I thought I was going to win it.”
“Now I’m just going to focus on the bronze and be ready for Sunday.”
The third stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place in Salt Lake City, USA on 18-24 June.