Canada second only to Chinese recurve men in Rio

Three short sets, none of which Canada lost by more than two points, decided the recurve men’s team final at the Aquece Rio International Archery Challenge, the test event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Second-seeds Canada had bested Italy and Chinese Taipei, after needing a shoot-off to get past their first round match against Spain.

Though they remained competitive throughout, the Canadians couldn’t muster enough to knock off a Chinese team that only lost two sets through all its matches. Two sets of 54 and a 53 to finish was China’s lowest scoring match of the tournament, but high scoring enough to take gold.

In fading sunlight, Hamilton Nguyen put a couple of his arrow into the blue, which strangled any chance of a late Canadian surge.

“The sixes, I’m not too sure where they came from. I think just because of the change in lighting I couldn’t see my string alignment. They executed well, so it was questionable. My last shot was a nine so I’m pretty happy I got that corrected – but it was just a little too late,” said Hamilton.

A silver medal at an important international marks Canada’s best result in team tournaments for some time. Hamilton credited his more experienced teammates and said the new line-up was gelling well.

“They’re pretty fun to shoot with. This is our third time shooting together. We won silver at the Arizona Cup, then we had a training camp in Salt Lake City – we were rocking it against the Japanese there, as well,” he said.

“It’s great having these two. Crispin [Duenas] has two Olympic Games, Jay [Lyon] has ’08 under his belt, so I think just the experience alone carries me.”

Individual second seed Duenas said taking silver was a strong step in the team’s development.

“I think it’s our first international medal as a team so this is only the first of many building blocks to come, especially in preparation for Rio 2016,” he added.

The Netherlands beat Chinese Taipei to bronze. Trailing 3-1, having been outscored by just a point over the first two sets combined, Rick van der Ven, Sjef van den Berg and Jan van Tongeren closed the match admirably.

Their 56- and 55-points series were good for set wins and flipped the match. Final score: 5-3, in Dutch favour.

“It’s always better to have three guys out there instead of one. It makes it easier to shoot the entire week and it helps us to stay motivated,” said Rick. “I have a good time with them. It’s looking good right now, but there are still five or six guys that can make the team for next year, so we’ll see who will be here.”