Salt Lake 2018: Compound finals line-up and preview
It’s been a windy week in Salt Lake City, with archers battling each other and the tough conditions through qualification and eliminations at the Easton Archery Center.
The finals arena at the only fully-dedicated archery venue on the tour is only metres away from the main field – but has a completely different landscape, and how our finalists deal with the conditions could prove critical.
SARA LOPEZ / LINDA OCHOA-ANDERSON
Compound women’s gold final
Lopez has already qualified for the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final after winning Shanghai. She’s not shooting the best arrows of her career right now – but did take pole in Salt Lake with a 21-point lead in qualifying.
A win for Sara would certainly push her back into the world number one spot, after Yesim Bostan jumped ahead in points for the first time in her career a couple of weeks ago. Plus, the Colombian archer promised her grandma she’d win at stage three.
But a win for Linda – in the very city that she now calls home – would give her a ticket to her fourth career Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.
Linda averaged 144.5 points a match through the Salt Lake eliminations, Sara didn’t shoot less than a 145 out of 150. But this head-to-head takes place an entirely different arena.
The pick: Linda
STEPHAN HANSEN / ABHISHEK VERMA
Compound men’s gold final
Verma semifinal victory over Russia’s Anton Bulaev saw the Indian archer post an emphatic perfect 150, and on his birthday no less.
The 28-year-old is actually performing at the highest level of his career in 2018, winning 76% of his matches and shooting 9.84 points per eliminations arrow.
But he’s up against the world number one, the 2015 World Archery Champion and 2017 world silver medallist.
Hansen survived a double shoot-off in the third round, his first match, and dropped just six points through the next three. Then again, Verma only left five points on the field through all four elimination phases.
The pick: Abhishek
AMAYA AMPARO COJUANGCO / SOPHIE DODEMONT
Compound women’s bronze final
It’s been quite a comeback for French archer Dodemont, an Olympic medallist from 2008 who switched to compound but took an extended break from international competition not long after winning the indoor worlds in 2014.
She climbed the podium for the first time in four years in Antalya this year – and will shoot for both this individual medal, which would be her first on the circuit if she secures it, and mixed team gold with reigning World Archery Champion Sebastien Peineau.
World number 43 Cojuangco, who is definitely taking a climb in the rankings after this event, has also never won an individual Hyundai Archery World Cup medal.
She seeded 38th in Salt Lake and did just enough in three matches to upset Natalia Avdeeva, 141-140, then Sandra Herve in a shoot-off – and finally fourth seed Toja Ellison, 142-140, before falling to Lopez in the semis.
The pick: Sophie
ANTON BULAEV / BRADEN GELLENTHIEN
Compound men’s bronze final
It’s a shot at a third consecutive bronze medal on this year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit for Braden, the defending tour champion, who’s got a field-leading 9.86 points per arrow average for the season.
Although the new win-and-in system for 2018 puts stage gold medallists into the final, Braden’s gone and done it the old fashioned way – with consistent high placings. He’ll likely be confirmed for Samsun whether he wins this match or not.
Bulaev was the eighth seed and upset favourite Kris Schaff in the quarters, but hasn’t quite got the scores to match-up with his US opponent if he’s on his game.
The pick: Braden
The third stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place in Salt Lake City, USA on 18-24 June.