Gabriela Bayardo qualifies first women’s Olympic spot for the Netherlands in 23 years

26 June 2019
Minsk, Belarus
Dutch women last competed in the archery competitions at the Olympic Games in 1996.

Gabriela Bayardo has qualified the Netherlands a recurve women’s quota place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a shoot-off win over Belarus’ Karyna Dziominskaya in the quarterfinals at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus.

“I know. At the moment, it’s just win the tournament. I don’t wanna cry,” said Bayardo immediately after she walked out of the arena.

“When we’re shooting, we don’t have that much time to think about things. We just shoot our arrows and do our best.”

The Dutch archer was the only remaining woman in the last eight who could win a space. The other seven archers represented nations that had already qualified at least one women’s spot at either the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships or in the mixed team event in Minsk.

However, the place was not automatic. Olympic quota places are only awarded to top-four finishers at the European Games. Bayardo had to win her quarterfinal to win the spot.

It wasn’t easy. A pair of 28-point sets had her 3-1 up but then two 25s saw the score levelled at 4-4. Gaby and Karyna split the fifth, both shooting 27 points, and the match was tied at the end of regulation.

Gaby shot first in the shoot-off an shot a nine. Karyna shot a nine, too, but it was wider.

“It is really difficult to shoot against, in this case, someone from Belarus because the crowd is cheering for them,” said Bayardo. “You have to shoot a bit extra.”

The 25-year-old, who was born in Mexico, has qualified the Netherlands a quota place that will likely see the country compete in the women’s competition at the Olympic Games for the first time in 23 years.

Dutch women last took part in the Games in Atlanta in 1996 where Ludmilla Arzhannikova finished 15th and Christel van Berkel-Verstegen came 27th. (The Netherlands qualified a place for Beijing 2008 but it was returned by the National Olympic Committee.)

Bayardo represented Mexico at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and ranked 17th individually.

She also recently took her first international outdoor medal, winning silver with Sjef van den Berg in the mixed team event at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

The recurve women’s title at the 2019 European Games will be decided later today. There are two recurve men’s places for the Olympics available during finals tomorrow in Minsk.

The archery competitions at the 2019 European Games take place on 21-27 June in Minsk, Belarus.