South Africa’s Danelle Wentzel set to make World Cup debut in Moscow

Compound archer Danelle Wentzel is the first woman from South Africa to compete at an edition of the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final. The 24-year-old will make that debut on 6 September 2019 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

“I’m really happy that I can have the title of being the first South African lady,” said Wentzel. “I hope that I experience enough so that there will be more to come in the future. I’m excited to learn a lot here and so far, it’s been great.”

Wentzel won her place in the Final after winning the third stage of the tour in Antalya in May. That was South Africa’s first individual title in the history of the circuit.

“It feels surreal. I’ve been watching World Cup Finals since forever, I just did practice and now I’m here [in the arena], so it feels great,” said Danelle.

“Normally with any other tournament you work, you shoot your practice, qualification and then it’s all of us trying to get into the medals and into the finals stage. Not everyone gets that opportunity, so stepping here you are already there.”

“It feels like all the work is done and you get the opportunity on the stage, which is great.”

Archers at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final go straight into quarterfinal matches. The full competition, per category, lasts no more than two-and-a-half hours – much less than the week of a stage of the tour.

It’s the second year in a row that each athlete’s position in the brackets is drawn randomly. Wentzel’s first opponent is Denmark’s Tanja Jensen.

“My strategy here is to focus on my own shooting. The other girls, they are all great archers, I know that, and anyone is capable of winning," said Danelle. “I’m just going to focus on my own shooting, my own target and I’m just going to try to put down the best arrows that I can shoot.”

Wentzel is accompanied in the Russian capital by her father. Danelle normally trains with compound archers Patrick Roux and Seppie Cilliers.

“They are the reason why I’m here today because they both have helped me so much, but I’m really happy that I get to share this experience with my dad. He knows my shooting; he’s been watching me forever,” she said.

“This is his first event overseas and I’m really happy that he can be in the stands. He knows all the archers from seeing them on TV, but for him being here and meeting them is like when you are a newbie, you’ll find everything interesting.”

Cilliers was the last South African athlete to compete at a Hyundai Archery World Cup Final. He finished second at the event in 2016.

“I asked Seppie how he prepared. He did give me tips on what to expect but it was different because he actually knew the draw before coming into this and we didn’t,” said Danelle. “This is why my game is to focus on my own shooting from the start and whatever I get, I get.”

Whether the results go Wentzel’s way in Moscow or not, she’s said qualifying is already the confirmation that prooves her growth as a competitor.

“Being here makes me realise that I love archery so much, that I want to do it forever or as long as I can,” she said.

The compound women’s competition in Moscow starts at 13h00 local time on Friday 6 September.

The 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final takes place on 6-7 September in Moscow, Russia.