Antalya set to host archery’s first world ranking event since start of pandemic

1 October 2020
Antalya, Turkey
Finals from the Antalya International Challenge will be streamed live on Sunday.

Archery’s first world ranking event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic will take place this weekend in Antalya, Turkey.

More than 100 archers from 13 countries, including Russia, Italy and Spain, have travelled to the International Antalya Challenge, which starts on Friday and finishes on Sunday.

The event will be the first international competition of 2020 for the majority of the athletes in attendance, with major archery events having been put on hiatus due to the worldwide pandemic since March.

Among the top archers participating are reigning European Games champions Tatiana Andreoli and Mauro Nespoli, reigning World Archery Champion Natalia Avdeeva and Turkish world number five Mete Gazoz.

Antalya is a longtime host of a stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup. 

The venue was due to host the European Championships and Europe’s continental qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games earlier this summer; these events have now been postponed until 2021.

Instead, this year it hosts the first major tournament to bear the #BacktoArchery brand, marking a significant step forward in the return of the sport after a challenging year.

Schedule

  • Friday 2 October – Qualification
  • Saturday 3 October – Eliminations
  • Sunday 4 October – Finals

The gold medal matches will be streamed live across World Archery’s digital platforms starting 1415 local time on Sunday 4 October.

Health measures

Restrictions in place to combat COVID-19 will make competing at the Antalya International Challenge an unusual experience when compared to events held before the pandemic. 

Sanitisation stations have been placed around the venue and athletes are required to wear masks, and practise social distancing, when not competing.

Unusually, each archer will have their own target during qualification. There are normally up to four archers sharing a single target in competition.

It will help spread out the already-restricted number of people on the tournament field – and they’ll also have to change their own target faces if required during the round. (Usually a job of the field crew at internationals.)

There are also regular health checks in place, and health-conscious procedures for transport, practice and meals at the single event hotel will keep contact minimal.

Archer reaction

It’s been a long year without a calendar of international – and even national – events.

“We’re finally able to compete at an international level again. It’s so precious for me to compete again face-to-face, not online, and I’m going to enjoy all the minutes I shoot,” said Yasemin Anagoz, who was one of eight recurve archers to feature in World Archery’s Lockdown Knockout in June.

She and the rest of Turkey’s squad returned to this field in Antalya to train, with social distancing and a host of other health restrictions, when their national lockdown was lifted.

“Of course, it isn’t easy under these circumstances. But I can say we’re well prepared. I’m going to do my best,” added Yasemin. “And I’m feeling even more excited because, after a year, it’s my first competition.”

Slovenian recurve woman Ana Umer noted the impact of the health measures on the competition field.

“We have to respect the rules of masks and social distance. And we shoot one archer to each target. It is different, but we just need to accept it and go with it,” she said. “We all miss the feeling of international competition. And I’m really excited and happy to be here.”

World rankings

The world rankings will remain frozen until April 2021, with no points depreciating until at least the start of next outdoor season. However, archers will add to their ranking points with the results in Antalya.

The 2020 Antalya International Challenge, archery’s first world ranking event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, takes place on 2-4 October 2020.