Marcus D’Almeida: Champion of the World

It was slightly unbelievable that Marcus D’Almeida, the youngest-ever qualifier for an Archery World Cup Final – let alone medallist – from Brazil, was still competing as a cadet in Yankton.

Not only do his results over first two years outshine many of his senior peers, but at the age of 17, Marcus is tall, muscular and carries himself with an air of confidence, sensibility and maturity that is beyond his modest years.

After such a successful full debut on the international scene in 2014, expectations for a repeat in 2015 were high.

Marcus’ first two events: The Archery World Cup stages in Shanghai and Antalya, did not go fully to plan. His camp was well aware.

“Marcus went through many problems at the beginning of the year and many people discredited him,” explained his coach, Evandro De Azevedo.

“He switched to his old equipment after those first two World Cup stages and just in time.”

Marcus’ gold medal match against Jan Van Tongeren was the highlight of a Korean-dominated cadet finals morning on recurve Sunday in Yankton.

Jan, representing the Netherlands, made the finals of the world indoors and has long been tipped as having severe medal potential.

For Marcus it was a shot at a first world champion title for himself and for Brazil. He had already won his nation its first Olympic medal at the Youth Games in Nanjing in 2014.

Marcus started solidly.

His first three arrows: A reasonable 28. The cadet finals were shot at 60 metres, 10 shorter than the senior 70. Jan struggled.

“My first three arrows were the worst of the entire competition,” he explained. Jan shot just 22 for the set. “I don’t know why they ended up like that.”

“On the practice field I had the sun in my face and during the match it was on my back – maybe that affected me as I was prepared for something different.”

Representing his avid orange nation, Jan quickly found the middle – 29 points – but Marcus matched him. The score sat at 3-1 in set points after two sets.

Marcus took the third, giving him match point in the fourth. 

Jan’s arrows: 9-9-10. Marcus: 9-9 – and needing a 10 to split the set and take the win.

Like so many times before, and a true archer of the head-to-head era, Marcus performed at his best when absolutely needed, breaking a clean shot and floating his final shaft of the set and match into the centre ring.

Marcus was emotional: “Since, I started in archery, I have been through many, many things. But now I’m honouring Brazil’s flag, I’m putting Brazil in the highest place in the world.”

The 17-year-old added world champion to his steadily growing list of accolades.

But there’s still more to come. “Back on track,” coach Evandro says, Marcus has the Pan American Games and senior World Archery Championships in Copenhagen to negotiate over the coming months.

For a few minutes in Yankton, though – there was only one pleasure to be had.

“I cannot wait to hear Brazil’s anthem.”

Marcus D’Almeida: Champion of the World.