Gizem Elmaagacli wins first major title at European Indoor Championships

Gizem Elmaagacli of Turkey, Italy’s Max Mandia, Russia’s Sayana Tsyrempilova and Dutch world number one Mike Schloesser won the individual titles at the 2019 European Indoor Archery Championships in Samsun, Turkey.

The event marks a first major individual tournament win for Gizem, whose brother Demir was Archery World Cup Champion in 2015.

“It is absolutely great to have this success [in Samsun] and see people who are proud of me here,” she said.

“I was dreaming about shooting in the arena since the beginning of the competition. I had experience at the World Cup Final [also in Samsun], but that was a little disappointing.” 

“This time I stepped up.”

Gizem received the invitational place to the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final held in Samsun at the end of the 2018 outdoor season. She lost her first match of that competition against eventual winner Sara Lopez.

At the European indoor in the same city, she qualified top before beating world number one and Turkish teammate Yesim Bostan in a semifinal shoot-off. 

She went to a second consecutive tiebreak in the final, shooting a second consecutive 10 to dispatch Alexandra Savenkova and take the compound women’s European indoor title.

The compound men’s final went to a single-arrow decider, too.

France’s Adrien Gontier was an underdog against multiple world champion Mike Schloesser but tied him in the regulation 15 arrows at 148 points.

“I saw how the guy shot in the final rounds and the team rounds and I knew it was going to be a fight,” said Mike.

The Dutchman had a chance to win the gold medal with his final arrow. He shot a nine.

“I was thinking about executing well with my release hand because that is normally the problem,” he explained. 

“But that was good, I was just not paying enough attention to my sightpin and because of that it hit left.”

Schloesser regrouped in the tiebreak, shooting a better 10 than Gontier to add another title to a long and lengthening resume.

Italy’s Max Mandia beat teammate Marco Morello in the recurve men’s final – in yet another shoot-off. Mandia had qualified first, Morello just 14th.

“I saw the opportunity in the shoot-off and told myself ‘don’t do special things, just be yourself’,” said Mandia.

“All the tension went away and I nailed it.”

Russia’s Sayana Tsyrempilova was better than Lidiia Sichenikova of Ukraine, 6-2, in the recurve women’s final. Sichenikova did not shoot a set of more than 28 points, while Sayana posted two 30s.

The Russian squad also took the recurve men’s and recurve women’s team titles. France won the European compound men’s team title.

Samsun, Turkey hosted the 2019 European Indoor Archery Championships from 26 February to 2 March.