Turkish duo impresses during qualification at home European Grand Prix

Yasemin Anagoz shoots during qualification at the European Grand Prix in Antalya in 2021.

Olympians Mete Gazoz and Yasemin Anagoz secured the top recurve seeds for the host nation with impressive qualification scores of 694 and 670 points, respectively, at the second European Grand Prix of 2021 in Antalya, Turkey.

Poland’s Lukasz Przybylski and Elizaveta Knyazeva of Russia led the compounds.

Anagoz, the reigning European Champion, set a new personal best with her result, shooting on the field at which the Turkish team usually trains.

“Frankly, today wasn’t difficult because we’ve prepared so intensely,” said the 22-year-old, who has been focusing on an area of weakness she identified at the European Grand Prix held in Croatia a few weeks ago.

“There was a lot of wind when we competed in Porec, and it affected my performance in a negative way," she said. "I realised I needed to work on this issue. My work has paid off, and I managed to shoot the highest score I have ever shot. I’m really happy with it.”

Anagoz’s strong performance and Gazoz's big score, which was four points off his best and the current European record, are encouraging signs for Turkey.

Having not yet secured Olympic quota spaces, they will return to this very venue in less than two month's time for the European Championships and the penultimate opportunity to secure tickets to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The pressure is high, but strong performances this week will earn these archers some much-needed confidence.

“This competition is practice for those championships. I feel really strong after this result,” said Gazoz, adding the following and a cheeky laugh. “I felt ambitious and comfortable today. This is my field and my city. Welcome to my home.”

Compound archers score during qualification at the European Grand Prix in Antalya in 2021.

Gazoz and Anagoz made their Olympic debuts as teenagers at Rio 2016. It is a surprise neither has qualified for the upcoming Games already. Both are working hard to rectify that situation.

Antalya hosted the first world ranking event after the competition hiatus last October.

Poland’s Przybylski impressed at that tournament, beating the highly ranked hosts to individual gold in the compound men’s event. He looked in impeccable form Thursday in Antalya, too, shooting a field-leading 712 points for the 72-arrow, 50-metre ranking round.

“I feel really good here in Turkey. This competition field is really friendly,” he said. “I feel like I’m on the training field. I really like shooting in Antalya.”

The conditions during qualification were adequate. There was a little wind, a little sunshine and cloud.

“Not ideal,” said Przybylski. “But really good.”

Russia's Kynazeva topped the compound women with 705 points.

Competition continues at the European Grand Prix with individual eliminations on Friday and Saturday, followed by the individual finals on Sunday. (No team or mixed team events are being held due to pandemic restrictions.) World ranking points are on offer.

World Archery will stream the gold medal matches delayed on its YouTube channel at 14h00 CET on Tuesday 13 April.

Photos by Saygin Akinci. Quotes by Oyku Ergec.

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