Mauro Nespoli adds third Italian recurve title of 2019 European Games

Mauro Nespoli beat Steve Wijler, 6-4, to take the recurve men’s gold medal and Italy’s third recurve title of the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus.

“It’s very important because I worked a lot on the mental side to be stronger in the individual competition,” he said. “It’s working so I’m very happy. I hope that this could be the first of a lot of victories.”

Nespoli already had a gold medal from the mixed team competition in Minsk and his Italian teammate Tatiana Andreoli won the recurve women’s event.

In the recurve men’s final, the fourth-seeded Italian archer and number-10 ranked Wijler were tied heading into the last set. In aggressive and inconsistent winds, Nespoli ploughed down a perfect 30 to finish.

It beat his Dutch opponent’s 28 and was enough to secure the match, 6-4, along with only the second major individual victory of Mauro’s career.

Despite years at the elite level and plenty of team podiums, the 31-year-old’s only previous international gold came at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Salt Lake City in 2018.

This was Wijler’s second silver medal at the European Games in Minsk.

“I’m really happy. We got silver with the team and silver individual. Of course, we always come for gold – but I’ll get that next year,” he said, casually referring to Tokyo.

“I just had a lot of fun today. Every match you could see my smiling and I was just enjoying my time here. I’m just really happy that everything went my way, except for the last one but that’s fine.”

Spain’s Pablo Acha beat David Pasqualucci in a four-set bronze medal match.

While Pasqualucci floundered in the wind, Acha put a full fist around the last spot on the recurve men’s podium at these European Games. He opened with a 29-point set and closed with a perfect 30, winning the match, 7-1.

“It’s an honour to have this medal on my neck because it means a lot to me. This year I have been focused on training, leaving my studies and future in standby, because for me is very important to represent Spain in Tokyo,” said Acha.

“I think we have a great team and in Berlin, we’ll get the team quota place, which is what we deserve.”

The third stage of the 2020 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Berlin, Germany will act as the final qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

There were two Olympic quota places available in the recurve men’s individual competition in Minsk.

These will not be officially awarded until a report from the event is evaluated. This particularly regards an appeal in the third round that affected the result of the match between Sjef van den Berg and Dan Olaru.

If the final results are approved for Olympic qualification, as it stands, Spain will receive one place due to Acha’s bronze medal. One additional men’s quota spot will then be made available at the final qualification tournament next spring.

Confirmation of how the men’s Olympic quota places in Minsk are awarded will be released at a later date.

The archery competitions at the 2019 European Games took place on 21-27 June in Minsk, Belarus.