Thompson upsets number one seed Stutzman to make first world final

6 June 2019
’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
He will face Turkey’s Murat Turan in the final in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Ben Thompson beat his US teammate and top seed Matt Stutzman, 144-142, in the compound men’s open semifinals to secure his first world gold medal match at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

“I struggled early and then found my groove, and then the match was a little nerve-wracking because Matt is an awesome archer, so I was a little nervous,” said Ben.

The bronze medallist at the last world para championships in Beijing in 2017 opened with a 29 to Matt’s 28 to take a one-point lead. But, by the time nine arrows were shot, they had 86 points apiece.

Both Ben and Matt then scored 28 points in the fourth end and went into the last three arrows tied at 114 points. Matt scored another 28, while Ben shot a perfect 30 points to take the match by two, 144 to 142.

“Don’t screw it up,” is what Ben told himself in that fifth end. “Just hope for a good shot, try to relax and shoot. I’m super stoked because I’m coming up from 2017 as a bronze [medallist], and I’m not going to be the bronze [medallist here].”

Since winning individual bronze at the Pan American Championships in Colombia, Ben took a break to recover from a long injury. He returned this spring and has been working himself back up to a competitive level.

“I’m coming off from an injury. I’ve been struggling hard, so to shoot this well here means a lot. I didn’t touch [the bow] until April for the trials for this event. Squeezed into the team and then I found a strike. It feels really good,” explained Ben.

Ben will face Turkey’s Murat Turan in the gold medal match, while Stutzman will shoot for bronze against India’s Rakesh Kumar.

The compound women’s open final will see Singapore’s Nur Syahidah Alim and Great Britain’s Jessica Stretton take to the arena.

Stretton, who recently switched from the W1 women’s division, shot a personal best and a new world record of 148 out of a possible 150 points in her semifinal match against Eleonora Sarti.

“To be honest, I’m all disbelieved. I literally just wanted to get in the top eight, so to be going for gold in the gold medal match is definitely a good surprise,” said Jessica.

“I’m always driving to get those few extra points, so like with this match that I just shot, where I dropped just two, it’s a personal best for me, so I’m really happy with that.”

Sarti and Tatiana Andrievskaia of Russia will contest the bronze.

The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June and World Archery Para Championships on 3-9 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.