Four teams, four titles: Colombian recurve and compounds Pan-Am Champs

“This is a journey to reach the top of the world,” said Colombian head coach Richard PRIESTMAN.

All the work the Colombian team is now putting in to improve its international results is with one big goal in mind: the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The first step towards Rio, the Pan-American Championships in Rosario – the first continental or world level championships since Richard’s taken up his role – has been a good one. Colombia’s teams won everything: the men’s and women’s recurve and compound Pan-Am titles.

It means that Colombia will send its full recurve quota to the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games next year.

“We had a great competition, not only because we won our spots for Toronto but because we’ve proved how strong we are right now,” said recurve women’s team member Natalia SANCHEZ.

The Colombian squad had a month-long training camp in Mexico City to prepare for the Rosario event. It was far enough way from the athletes’ home in South America to give absolute privacy, concentrate only on archery and practice with top archers from another competitive nation.

It worked.

Natalia SANCHEZ, Ana Maria RENDON and Maira SEPULVEDA, the Colombian recurve women’s team in Rosario, collected silver at the Shanghai World Cup stage this year.

Olympians SANCHEZ and RENDON won team gold at the Pan-Am Games in 2007, when the event was hosted in… Rio de Janeiro!

Mexico, Venezuela, USA and Cuba also secured full quota places for Toronto 2015.

Another Olympian, Daniel PINEDA, led a new Colombian recurve men’s team to the Pan-Am Championships title. They won matches over the USA and Cuba, who collected silver and bronze respectively.

In the quarterfinals, Chile upset Mexico in straight sets. It put Mexico into a four-way shoot-off for the last of five Toronto team quota spots – which the Mexicans won.

Sara LOPEZ, Alejandra USQUIANO and Maja MARCEN beat Venezuela in the compound women’s team final for Colombia’s third gold medal of the day. The Colombian men then beat Mexico to complete the Pan-Am title clean sweep in Rosario.

Mexico was third in the compound women’s competition, Brazil bronze medallist in the men’s.

See results from the Pan-American and Para Pan-American Archery Championships, which take place this week in Rosario, Argentina.