Libert wins recurve title as first day of world masters concludes

After a long day of competition spread over nearly 11 hours, the recurve men’s 50+ outdoor championship saw Eric Libert of France crowned World Archery Masters Champion in Lausanne, Switzerland. He beat Adolf Mohr of Germany 6-4 in the final, shooting ends of 28, 29, 28, 27, 28 to take the title. 

The former French international, a doctor, competed for 10 years as a junior, but then took a 30-year break from the sport, before returning to competition eight years ago.

“Juniors, no senior; only masters,” he said, laughing, adding the most difficult part of his day was “the matchplay. Always, for me.” 

“It’s my first masters tournament. I competed in a veterans tournament last year in Italy, but that’s it.”

Eric has been seen frequently on the indoor circuit though, even finishing sixth at the Indoor Archery World Cup stage in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2017.

At 57 years old, he scored 336 out of a possible 360 points for his first half of the 72-arrow 60-metre ranking round. It was a score that, if shot at 70 metres,  would likely put him in the top five at any Hyundai Archery World Cup event this year.

“It’s good, but it’s still below my best at 70 metres [laughs]. In France, masters shoot at 70,” he said.

A miss in the second half left him with 322 and 658 in total, but he still finished top of the field, just in front of Adolf Hehl of Germany and the pre-tournament favourite, Russia’s Stanislav Zabrodski, the 1989 World Champion and four-time Olympian. 

Zabrodski and Hehl were eliminated in the last 16, and Libert had to face double-Olympian Vedat Erbay in his semifinal, which he won 6-2 in a high-quality encounter, before beating Mohr for the gold in five sets. 

Erbay took the bronze medal, beating Babak Alizadeh, 6-2. 

It’s not over for Libert, who also competes in the indoor and field competitions in Lausanne.

Elsewhere on the first day of competition at the 2018 World Archery Masters Championships, the first tournament of its kind, Laura Bennett Shelton won the recurve women’s indoor 50+ world title.

Meanwhile, at the Montheron field course, Belgium’s Luc Verdeyen and Tenjin Satoko of Japan were named compound men’s and women’s field 50+ World Archery Masters Champions.

Non-championship recurve winners included Angie Olds (women 60+ outdoor), Avio Garavaldi (men 70+ outdoor), Alberto Gagnazzi (men 60+ indoor), Steve Ebener (men 40-49 indoor) and Kaori Mitsuyama (women 40-49 indoor).

Non-championship compound winners included Al Campsall (men 60+ field), John Keenan (men 70+ field), Barbara Scott (women 70+ field),  Dirk Overfield (men 40-49 outdoor) and Tanja Nordmeyer-Khune (women 40-49 outdoor).

Barebow archers Joakim Hassila (40-49), world medallist Rick Stonebraker (50+) and Susan Balsbo (50+) also took gold medals in outdoor competitions.

Daniel Stafford (40-49), Roland Sturney (50+), Ylle Kell (50+) and Kurt Nuenlist (60+) won the longbow indoor events, with instinctive indoor top finishes going to Tuvshintugs Damdinsuren (40-49), Rene Huber (50+), Daniela Huber (50+), Jurg Schalpfer (60+) and Esther Sopinski (60+).

The first World Archery Masters Championships take place on 14-18 August 2018 in Lausanne, Switzerland.