Meet the mixed team: Pablo and Alicia

Alicia Marin and Pablo Acha won Spain’s second podium finish in the recurve mixed team event on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit during the second stage in Antalya by beating the USA in the bronze final. 

Both 20 years old, Marin is into her fourth international season, Pablo his first as a senior. The pair’s medal in Antalya came just two days after it was announced that the mixed team event would be added to the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020.

We spoke to the pair during official practice in Salt Lake.

How was it to win medal in Antalya?

Pablo Acha: “I was very happy because I didn’t expect a medal there. I was there to get experience as this is my first year as a senior. I was conscious that it takes time, effort and a lot of preparation to be at the top, so it came as a surprise. We train together but never practised the mixed team event before. I felt great during the match, I was very concentrated and it worked.”

Alicia Marin: “Antalya was our first event of the year, so the plan was to get into form and try out things that we were doing while in practice. A medal was not the goal but it happened, so we were definitely more than happy with it.”

Have you practised the mixed team more ahead of Salt Lake City now that you’ve won that medal?

Pablo: “Not really. We train at the same place, we have the same coach and the same schedules, so we know each other well. I think that’s what really help us to shoot well together.”

Where do you train?

Alicia: “We’re both living in Madrid at the Joaquin Blume residence where we train as well. I’m from Madrid so it feels like home to me, for Pablo is kind of different as he’s from Burgos.”

What do you think about the mixed team’s inclusion in the Olympics?

Alicia: “I’m really excited about the mixed team at the Olympics because we always thought it could be fun to shoot it. It’s also another opportunity to promote the sport. It brings more emotions, too, as it’s another medal on the ballot.”

Pablo: “It’s great to have the opportunity to contest another medal. It also makes you think about being at a good level to shoot not only two events, individual and men’s team, but a third one. You gotta be ready to give your best in all of them.”

How different do you find it from the team competition?

Pablo: “In the mixed, you have less time to shoot but we both shoot fast. I can trust her [Alicia] to do a good job and enjoy the match no matter what. It’s easy to support her. With the men’s team the dynamic is a bit different as there are three individuals involved. The timing is different and there’s an order involved that can change in between each set.”

How do you support each other while shooting?

Alicia: “Well, in Antalya we were so concentrated on the match that we barely talked to each other. It was just something like: ‘Come on, Pablo!’ Normally we just encourage each other to keep going without thinking about the scores.”

What’s your impression of Salt Lake?

Pablo: “Here everything revolves around archery. The place is an archery centre itself and it’s all ready to go. Some manufacturer factories are here and with the weather and the field all set-up it all looks great. It feels good to be here.”

Alicia: “The field is so nice that it actually makes you want to shoot here. What I’ve seen from the city so far is also nice. I like that we’re surrounded by mountains.”

What’s the most difficult part of being far away from home?

Pablo: “For me, not being close to my family but once you make the balance with all you get at the residence in Madrid where we live, where we are supported by our coach, and we have good housing, food, and everything is ready for us, it compensates. Being able to travel doing what you love also helps.”

Where do see yourself in five years?

Alicia: “I expect to have grown more as an archer and learn more about life in general. I thought this was going to be my last year, as 2016 was very hard emotionally speaking. I was very close to make it to the Olympics and it just went away in a second.”

Pablo: “I think my life perspective will depend on if I made it to the Olympics in Tokyo or not. If I qualify, I think afterwards I will keep shooting and giving the best to continue as an archer but being more relaxed about how I take things now. If I don’t, I will continue pushing myself until making that dream possible.”

What do you learn from each other?

Pablo: “Alicia has more international experience than me, so I always ask her about how things work on events so that I can do it properly. She always helps me, I like that from her.”

Alicia: “Pablo’s very chill. I like his attitude about things in general.”

The third stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 20 to 25 June in Salt Lake City, USA.