Ukraine’s women win European title in straight sets

Seeded third with 1897 points in Nottingham, Ukraine’s recurve women’s squad, made up of Anastasia Pavlova, Veronika Marchenko and Lidiia Sichenikova, beat Georgia in straight sets to become the European Champion.

On its way to the final, the Ukrainian team beat Estonia in the fourth round, then Italy in the quarters. In the semis, the group struggled against Germany, who won bronze earlier in the morning on recurve Sunday in Nottingham’s Old Market Square.

In that semifinal, Ukraine and Germany went into a shoot-off that the Ukrainians won by one point – a close result they didn’t want to take to repeat in the final against Georgia.

With the temperature dipping to 12°C and wind whipping up in between the sets, which didn’t really bother the Ukrainian ladies, they posted a 52 against Georgia’s 49 to open the match with a set win, and never look back.

“We don’t really think about the fact it’s cold today,” said Anastasia. “It could be worse.”

“We slept well yesterday, we had a good rest and we were happy with our week.”

During the second and third ends, Ukraine kept ahead, shooting 54 and 55 points, as Georgia shot 52 in each, to take the match and title.

While Georgia already qualified a full team for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, Ukraine has only one individual place, which Veronika won during the World Archery Championships in Copenhagen in 2015.

There’s still one last chance for the now European Champions to upgrade to three places, in Antalya, although it won’t be easy. The third stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup has already made the record number of athlete entries, which makes it the biggest world cup ever. These Ukrainian women know what they need to do.

“It will be hard in Antalya. We’ll try to get the team quota for the Olympics, but there will be a lot of teams, strong teams. We must be ready for high results,” said Anastasia.

Germany, who took silver in 2014, upset the crown by beating Europeans host nation Great Britain to collect bronze.

The recurve men’s team gold medal match between Russia and Great Britain went into a shoot-off. Both teams posted a 28, but Russia was closer to the middle.

“Unfortunately, today wasn’t good enough to get the medal we would have liked, but it’s a great signal going into Turkey in the final qualification. I have to bring my friends to Rio with me," said Patrick Huston, who won GBR an individual spot for the Games last Friday, 27 May. 

The match for the bronze was also contested a shoot-off between Belgium and Spain, which the Belgium lads won by three, 28-25.

“We trained for it! It was good shooting and when your technique is good and your shot is properly executed, it normally lands in the 10,” said Robin Ramakers.