China’s Zheng Yichai breaks Russian women’s grasp on Antalya gold

Zheng Yichai, a 21-year-old from China, took recurve women’s gold at the Antalya stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup after beating Sayana Tsyrempilova, 6-4, in the final.

“I’m very, very excited,” she said. “I believed in myself. So when it got to the last set it was easy.”

This was Yichai’s second Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the season after Shanghai. Unlike most nations, China often sends different squads to each event. She was part of the silver-medal-winning recurve women’s team at stage two.

Neither Yichai or Sayana qualified high in Antalya. The Chinese archer, in 45th, was the lowest seeded of her team, while Sayana sat in 23rd. Both did enough during eliminations to make top billing at the event.

In the hottest conditions seen all week, Tsyrempilova – in her first career individual gold medal match – never looked entirely comfortable, sending down five eights in the first three sets.

She was kept in it by an odd three from Yichai.

“The string caught my clothing. But I knew it was just a little mistake. My movement was still good and strong. So I was determined to keep going,” said the Chinese archer.

Sayana recovered in the fourth with 29 points, but visibly struggled with her final arrow of the fifth set – still with a chance to win the match – only managing a seven. It went to the judges, but the fifth end was finally called for Zheng by a single point.

“I’m going to make my full efforts for it,” said Yichai, when asked what she felt about qualifying for the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

She is only the second recurve woman to book a place since the first two stages of the international circuit were won by Korea’s Kang Chae Young.

In the Antalya bronze medal match, Tan Ya-Ting produced a dramatic comeback from 4-0 down to force a shoot-off with Alejandra Valencia – which the world number four won with a 10.

Spain beat Russia in the recurve mixed team final.

Miguel Alvarino Garcia and Elia Canales improved with every set, finishing with 39 points to take the gold medal.

Home nation Turkey – represented by the now-familiar pairing of Mete Gazoz and Yasemin Anagoz – had little trouble taking bronze in straight sets over China.

The third stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place on 20-26 May in Antalya, Turkey.