Anton Bulaev and Andrea Becerra win compound crowns at Universiade in Napoli

Russia’s Anton Bulaev and Mexico’s Andrea Becerra won the compound men’s and women’s gold medals at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Napoli, Italy. Korea, Turkey and Estonia took the compound team titles.

The finals were held next to Caserta Palace, an 18th-century former royal residence situated 30 kilometres north of Napoli.

Two-time defending champion Kim Jongho looked favourite to take his third consecutive compound men’s title at this Universiade.

But the individual semifinals were also held in the archery arena and Jongho’s did not go to form. The Korean archer shot two misses, one in the first end and one in the fourth, and lost to Turkey’s Muhammed Yetim, 144-127.

Yetim went on to face Bulaev in the compound men’s gold medal match. Tied after four ends, both archers finished with perfect 30s to remain tied at the end of regulation on 147 points.

Bulaev sent his shoot-off arrow first and it was almost perfect – nearly dead-centre in the target. Muhammad landed a 10 but it was low and left.

The match went to the Russian world number 10.

“I’m very happy but a bit speechless because this is the first gold medal at the Universiade for me. All I was thinking about was winning,” said Bulaev. “Every competition is important. I will have only one more Universiade because I am 22 years old. Individual medals are always important.”

Jongho recovered in the bronze medal match to beat Poland’s Lukasz Przybylski, 146-145, and take the last spot on the compound men’s podium.

Eighteen-year-old Andrea Becerra was impressive during her two matches in the arena.

Despite having little international experience, her only previous world event being the youth championships in 2017, she beat top seed Yesim Bostan in the compound women’s semifinals and then So Chaewon to gold.

Andrea scored 147 points to world number four Yesim’s 144, and 146 to world number eight Chaewon’s 141.

“I wanted to win but it wasn’t expected. I was shooting against the best in the world. I have too much respect for the archers that shot today and I’m very happy,” said Becerra.

“We knew that [So Chaewon] was coming and that Korea was one of the best teams in archery. I shot my best shots because I knew I was gonna be against her. The conditions were just in my favour this time.”

The young Mexican athlete is in her first year at university, studying international relations.

Bostan took compound women’s bronze over Kazakhstan’s Diana Makarchuk, 145-142.

Estonia’s victory over Chinese Taipei in the compound mixed team final was as impressive as it was unexpected prior to the start of this tournament.

Number-10-seeded siblings Robin and Lisell Jaatma shot two perfect arrows in a shoot-off to seal the win. It is Estonia’s first-ever gold medal in an archery competition at the Summer Universiade.

“I feel really good because initially, I was so nervous,” said Lisell.  “I’m really happy because I didn’t do so well in the individual. This is a big competition and we were shooting against some really great archers. So it feels very good to win it.”

The team events at this Universiade took a similar format to the mixed team. Rather than the normal three archers, each team consisted of just two athletes – and matches were decided over 16 arrows.

Turkey’s Muhammed Yetim and Suleyman Araz beat Iran in the compound men’s team gold medal match in a tiebreak.

Korea took its lone victory of the day in the compound women’s team final, So Chaewon and Kim Yunhee shooting 156 points to Turkey’s 154.

At the previous two editions of the Universiade, Korea has won four of the five available compound titles. In 2019, five different countries collected compound crowns.

The archery competitions at the 2019 Summer Universiade take place on 8-13 July in Napoli, Italy.