Standing Ovations at the Archery Stadium
Today was the last day of quarterfinals. The recurve men and women standing categories and the compound men and women were on the field. Let’s remind ourselves of the importance of the quarterfinals: a win gives a place in the semifinal and such place provides two chances at a Paralympic medal! World Archery had the pleasure to welcome a strong Finnish delegation led by the President of the State Sauli NIINISTÖ. Here some commentaries from the field! Recurve Men Standing Eric BENNET (USA), who is shooting with one arm (and a device fixed on his shoulder to release the arrows), has been impressive until now. He started his quarterfinal match in the same fashion with 10-8-8 to take the first set. His opponent Oguzhan POLAT (TUR) raised up his game a bit in the second set with 7-9-9, but BENNET scored 9-8-9 to take a 4-0 lead. Both archers shared the third set with 26-26, BENNET led 5-1. Then POLAT kept his chance alive when he finished the fourth set with a 10! His 26 points were enough to take the two set points this time, as BENNET only scored 25. However, POLAT could not repeat this feat on the fifth set. He finished with an 8. The door was opened for BENNET who ended the match superbly with 9-10-10. Victory for the American, 7-3. The No. 2 seed Timur TUCHINOV (RUS) was the favourite against the No. 23 Roman CHAYKA (UKR). He was consistent and prevailed 6-0 (26-21, 26-20, 27-25). TUCHINOV’s teammate Mikhail OYUN also defeated a Ukrainian archer, Yuriy KOPIY, 6-2 (22-23, 28-25, 26-22, 25-20). Finally, the third Russian also made it to semifinals! Oleg SHESTAKOV defeated Zafer KORKMAZ (TUR) 6-4 ( 29-21, 23-29, 24-25, 27-24, 28-20). Recurve Women Standing The No. 8 Javzmaa BYAMBASUREN (MGL) created the first upset of the day by taking out the No. 1 seed and current world champion GAO Fangxia (CHN), 6-0 (25-24, 24-21, 24-21). The No. 12 Magali COMTE (SUI) was on the way for another upset, when she led the No. 4 seed and Paralympic champion LEE Hwa Sook (KOR) 4-0. However the Korean came back strongly in the last three sets (winning them 23-21, 30-26, 27-23) to enjoy the victory, 6-4. The No. 3 seed YAN Hulian (CHN) was taking on the home crowd favourite Sharon VENNARD (GBR) seeded No. 6. The Chinese athlete took the first set, 25-22. Both athletes started the second set with 7-9. However VENNARD finished with a 5 and YAN took a 4-0 lead in the match shooting an 8. There were some little gusts of wind and VENNARD started the third set with a 6. YAN was hardly better with a 7. Same thing with their respective second arrow, 6 and 7. VENNARD finished with an 8. YAN did not miss the opportunity to clinch a spot in the semifinal with another 8. Victory 6-0 for YAN. The last quarterfinal of the morning session was between the No. 2 seed Milena OLSZEWSKA (POL) and Irina BATOROVA (RUS) seeded No. 10. It was the lower seed, BATOROVA, who started better in this match taking a 4-0 lead. OLSZEWSKA cut her deficit by half in the third set, shooting 8-9-9. Then, the Polish archer followed up with 9-10-8 and tied the match at 4-4! OLSZEWSKA continued in good form when she opened the fifth set with a 10! On her side, BATOROVA lost pretty much all her chances when she scored a 3. OLSZEWSKA finished with 9-10, clinching the match 6-4. It was another come-back victory during the morning session! Compound Men Open In the afternoon, yet another extraordinary match took place! The archer who shoots with his feet, and with no help, the No. 1 seed from the qualifications in probably the most competitive category since five former world champions are in it(!), Matt STUTZMAN (USA) shot against his teammate Dugie DENTON! Both archers shot 28 points in the first set. Then STUTZMAN shot 10-9-10 and DENTON 10-10-9 in the second set. Scored remained tied, 2-2! STUTZMAN started the third with a 9*, meaning close to the 10 line. DENTON shot a 10. STUTZMAN had another 9. DENTON a 10. STUTZMAN, 10! DENTON a third 10! Despite that STUTZMAN first arrow was indeed a 10 (it caught the line), DENTON’s perfect set gave him the lead, 4-2. STUTZMAN started the fourth set with a 10 and followed up with two 9s. That was enough to tie the match at 4-4, as DENTON scored 9-9-9. STUTZMAN shot first in the last set and he had to reset his mechanical release during his shot! With three seconds left on the clock, he scored a 9. DENTON had a 10. Matt had another 9*. Dugie a 10. STUTZMAN needed a 10 to put pressure on his opponent and got it! DENTON finished with an…8! Now the 9* had all its importance. Finally, it was judged as a 10 (it touched the line). STUTZMAN had a done it again! After coming back from a 0-4 deficit in his previous match (when he struggled with a broken release at warm-up and wet feet on the final field…), STUTZMAN had another come-back victory. Standing ovation!!!!! It was also a high level match between the 1998 (!) world champion Alberto SIMONELLI and Guillermo RODRIGUEZ GONZALEZ (ESP). The athletes were equal in the first three sets: 28-28, 29-29, 28-28. Then SIMONELLI went out of the “yellow” for the first time in the fourth set and he lost it 26-28. RODRIGUEZ took the lead, 5-3. The silver medallist in Beijing 2008 (and winner of numerous other world medals) SIMONELLI started the last set with a 10. RODRIGUEZ had a 10. Alberto with a 10. Guillermo with a 10. SIMONELLI finished with a 9. RODRIGUEZ needed just another arrow in the yellow to win it (which he had not missed for the entire match). He did it (a 9) to upset SIMONELLI and take a spot in the semifinals! The No. 3 seed Dogan HANCI (TUR) and the No. 6 Peter KASCAK (SVK) traded the two first sets. Then KASCAK shot a 7 to start the third set and HANCI took the advantage, 4-2. The athletes were tied in the fourth set. Finally, HANCI finished stronger in the last set with 9-9-10 to clinch the match 7-3! A strong Finnish delegation, including the President, Sauli NIINISTÖ supported Peter FORSBERG to victory in the last match of the day! The Finnish athlete was super, winning 6-0 (30-28, 29-27, 28-27). Compound Women Open The match every archery fan in Great Britain was waiting for today: the quarterfinal between Danielle BROWN (GBR) and Maria RUBIO LARRION (ESP)! RUBIO beat British archer Pippa BRITTON in the previous round. BROWN had a fantastic start with 29 points in the first set and led 2-0. She had the opportunity to win the second set as well, but she finished it with an 8. The set ended tied at 26-26; BROWN led 3-1. The British athlete had again the chance to win the third set, but she finished with a 7 while the Spaniard had a 10. RUBIO won the third set 27-26 and tied the match at 3-3. In the fourth set, BROWN started with 9-9. RUBIO with 9-10. BROWN finished with a 9. RUBIO with…an 8. Tied set and tied match, 4-4! In the fifth, BROWN started with a 9. RUBIO had an 8. BROWN a 10! RUBIO a 9. BROWN finished with another 8! RUBIO could tie it with a 10… She shot a 9. BROWN and the crowd were relieved. The British star is going to the semifinal matches! The second British athlete of the afternoon session, Mel CLARKE (GBR) walked onto the field with another ovation. However, her opponent, Miho NAGANO (JPN) took the first set, 24-23. In the second set, CLARKE shot 9*-8-9 and NAGANO 9-8-9. After a closer look, the judge defined that the 9* was a 10 and CLARKE tied the match at 2-2. CLARKE scored 8-9-8 in the third, but NAGANO had 8-9-10 to take a 4-2 lead. The British athlete came back strongly in the fourth set with 9-10-10, while the Japanese scored 9-8-10. Tied match (4-4) and decisive fifth set! CLARKE started it with a 10! NAGANO had a 9! Mel had another quick 10! Miho another 10! CLARKE scored a last 10: perfect set and victory! NAGANO’s last 10 did not change anything. CLARKE offered herself a place in the semifinal for her 30th birthday! And the crowd went back on its feet singing a joyful: “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you...”! The two British athletes will meet two Russians in the semifinals. The No. 4 seed Marina LYZHNIKOVA (RUS) proved to be too strong for the No. 12 Gubin SU (TUR) 6-0 (27-17, 28-23, 27-25). The No. 2 seed Stepanida ARTAKHNIOVA (RUS) won no fewer than three medals at the 2011 World Championships (silver in individuals, gold in teams and mixed teams). She confirmed her supremacy today, at least at the national level, beating her teammate Olga POLEGAEVA 6-0 (27-25, 29-28, 29-27). Medal matches start tomorrow morning!