Russia, China dominate mixed team events at world para championships

6 June 2019
’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Russia made all three mixed team finals – qualifying six quota places for the next Paralympic Games.

Mixed team eliminations day at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships came with extra pressure.

Not only did it decide the teams that will shoot for the world titles at these championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, but the top four pairs in each category also qualified quota places to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

China and Russia won places in all three divisions – recurve, compound and W1. Russia made all three finals; China, two of the three.

Read the rundown of the Paralympic Games quota places won in the primary tournament at the championships.

China’s Liu Jing and Zhang Tianxin overcame their nerves to beat the Czech Republic in the mixed team semifinal. After the first end, they already had a five-point lead. But a 32 in the third end, to the Czech Republic’s 37 made it tense.

In the end, the Chinese team pulled ahead in the last to win the match by two points, 140-138.

“We feel excited. We didn’t expect we would reach the final. And we didn’t think about the champions title before. We did great effort, gained confidence,” said Zhang.

“It’s kind of a surprise. I was a little bit nervous, my heart was beating a lot.”

In Sunday’s final, China will meet Russia.

Elena Krutova and Aleksei Leonov upset defending champions Great Britain in the quarterfinals before they beat Japan, the third-placed team at the Beijing 2017 World Archery Para Championships.

This event in ’s-Hertogenbosch is Leonov’s debut in the W1 event and he did very well.

“Of course, it means a lot. It’s the first time that he shoots in this category. It was unexpected but we hoped for that. We were dreaming about that,” said the Russian coach. “We were struggling in the last shooting, in the last end.”

“I was a little bit nervous, yes,” confirmed Aleksei.

His teammate, Krutova, has already secured at least two silver medals at this championships. The world number three was silver and bronze medalist in previous world championships, both times in the mixed team event.

“I’m happy, I’m very happy. It’s not a surprise, however. I put a lot of work to reach this final and that was the goal for the championships,” she said. 

She advanced to the W1 women’s final, too. After the regulation 15 arrows of the match, Krutova and Liu Jing were tied, both with 130 points. In the shoot-off, the Russian archer found the X in the target to beat Liu Jing’s nine.

Krutova will face Kim Ok Geum of Korea in the final. The bronze medal will go to China as Liu Jing takes on Chen Minyi.

China can also win the W1 men’s event. Li Ji faces Turkish top seed Bahattin Hekimoglu in that title match.

Hekimoglu beat world-record-holder David Drahoninsky, 143-141, in the semifinals. At the end of the day, Drahoninsky said he was comfortable he was beaten by archers who had shot better than him on the day.

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