Experience in the wind pays off for second seed Ella Gibson

Ella Gibson shoots at the Yankton 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.

It hasn’t taken long to find Ella Gibson’s name when scanning qualification results this season.

She registered a fourth consecutive top eight, top two even, on Tuesday at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships in Yankton, placing second with a score of 692 – just one point behind top seed Sara Lopez.

Conditions on the range were tough for everybody.

Gibson responded to a modest score of 343 through her first 36 arrows to shoot a field-leading 349 in the second half, overcoming the challenging winds to place herself in an advantageous spot ahead of matchplay.

“My first half was definitely a bit rough,” said Gibson. “I kind of figured out that I was being a little too careful with trying to aim too well when it’s not really possible, so my shots weren’t as clean. I was able to fix that in the second half, and it went a lot smoother.”

Archery is an outdoor sport.

Most athletes would, probably, pick a calmer day to compete if they could. But the ability to aim, execute and appreciate the greater score variance when there’s a lot of wind is just as much of a skill required of a champion than any other.

“You can get caught up trying to be too accurate,” explained Ella. “When you’re getting blown around, you’re going to be up there so long that the shot isn’t going to be good anyway. We get a lot of wind in the UK, so it’s something we all have to get used to.”

“It’s about getting your timing right, picking your moments and trying to be as aggressive as you can.”

The 21-year-old, who was runner-up at the European Championships earlier in the season, won’t be wasting energy on the practice range this week. She’ll save it all to battle the conditions.

Matchplay’s how the tournament’s decided – but a comfortable high seeding to start the event is a big boon to any archer’s confidence.

“I know kind of what level that I shoot at now, and that level seems to be somewhere near the top of qualifications,” she said. “It’s nice to still be there. I shoot a lot and train a lot, so it’s nice that it’s started to pay off.”