Natalia Avdeeva delivers 10 with last arrow to win world championships

Natalia Avdeeva of Russia became compound women’s world champion by beating the USA’s Paige Pearce, 142-141, in the final of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

“It’s fantastic. I’ve been going for this medal for 20 years. It’s so important for me, for my family and for the Russian Federation,” she said.

Avdeeva never trailed in the final but never fully took control, as both archers apparently felt the pressure of the arena.

Pearce opened with three nines, allowing the Russian world number 33 to take an early one point lead. It seemed like she would streak ahead, but both were scrappy until Pearce seized back momentum by going clean in the third end.

Again, Natalia edged ahead in the fourth – and she hung on, needing a maximum with her final arrow to take victory.

“When I was standing there with the last arrow, I was just thinking 10, 10… come on girl! Please, you need a 10,” she said.

It landed – she turned to face her coach, asked for confirmation of the win, and let out a victory scream.

Despite years of international experience, Avdeeva had struggled with the prospect of shooting for the world title.

“I was so nervous. I didn’t sleep until three-am, I was thinking about the weather, the wind, how I would be feeling,” she said. “It’s strange. Someday I hope the compound bow will be in the Olympics, and I hope to win that, too.”

The gold medal makes Natalia the reigning indoor and outdoor world champion. She is the first Russian archer to hold a compound world title since Albina Loginova did so back-to-back in 2009 and 2011.

Avdeeva is the third Russian winner of the compound women’s world title after Loginova and Sofia Goncharova, who was champion in 2005.

In a thrilling bronze medal match, Jyothi Surekha Vennam beat Turkish world number two Yesim Bostan to third place. They’d already faced each other on the stage, Vennam’s India beating Turkey in the team bronze final.

Bostan, the defending silver medallist at these championships, displayed visible nerves in the finals arena – and not for the first time.

Despite a shake in the third end, she delivered three 10s to level the score at 87 points after nine arrows. Vennam was pushed for time in the second arrow of the fourth end, putting in a bad nine – and Bostan jumped into a lead.

The match was the Turkish archer’s to lose.

Two ahead as they entered the last end, Bostan wavered. While Vennam shot three 10s, Yesim needed a last 10 to force a tiebreak.

In the shoot-off, Bostan shot first and shot a low, low nine. It left a large margin for her opponent and Vennam delivered an emphatic 10 to hammer home the win.

“I just thought: I’ll shoot my arrow like I shoot it every time, and that’s how I shot my best,” she said. 

A veteran of many team performances, this was Vennam’s debut solo appearance in a medal match at this level.

“This is my first individual medal match in the world, so I was a little nervous, but I thought I did my best,” she said. 

“It’s my first individual medal, and I’m really happy.” 

The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.