Spanish recurve success continues with pairs final berth at Europeans

Pablo Acha and Elia Canales hug after making the mixed team final at the European Championships in 2021.

Spanish duo Elia Canales and Pablo Acha defeated Turkey’s Mete Gazoz and Gulnaz Coskun in a perfect tiebreak, 20 points to 20 points, on Wednesday to reach the recurve mixed team final at the 2021 European Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

Both teams shot a pair of 10s in the shoot-off, with Acha’s final arrow determining the match by landing closest to the centre of the target – by about a millimetre.

Spain will face Russia’s Elena Osipova – the top individual seed – and Aldar Tsybikzhapov, who eased through a semifinal against Poland, 6-2, in the gold medal match on Sunday.

“We train a lot for shoot-offs, both as individuals and as a team,” said Acha, who was the anchor for the Spanish recurve men’s team that won the first stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City. “It’s all about the process. I practise with less time and in stressful moments so I can be prepared for these situations.”

The seventh-seeded pairing after qualification, Elia and Pablo were excellent in the eliminations, averaging 38 points a set (two 10s, two nines) through almost three matches until a last-second wobble – a 33-pointer – allowed Mete and Gulnaz to force the semifinal tiebreak.

Turkey, while disappointed, took solace in the shoot-off performance.

Gulnaz Coskun shoots at the European Championships in 2021.

“It’s sad to lose when we all shot a perfect score during the shoot-off, but of course we’re happy,” Gazoz said. “We shot great. We had an incredible day.”

The host nation of these championships will face the Polish partnership of Magdalena Smialkowska and Kacper Sierakowski in the bronze medal match.

Turkey will be represented in the compound third-fourth play-off, too.

Estonian siblings Robin and Lisell Jaatma beat Turkey’s Yakup Yildiz and Yesim Bostan by the slimmest of margins, 154-153, to avoid a semifinal shoot-off and advance to the compound mixed team gold medal match.

“It was a difficult match,” Robin said. “I made a lot of mistakes, but fortunately my sister shot really well.”

The Jaatmas won the last Summer University Games together and made good on their threatening potential by upsetting the second-seeded Netherlands in the Antalya quarterfinals. That tiebreak was, too, decided by a closest-to-the-centre measure after both teams shot perfect 20s, having finished the match tied at 157 points.

The Estonian duo will face Belgium’s Sarah Prieels and Reginald Kools, who beat Germany’s Janine Meissner and Tim Krippendorf, 157-154. 

Competition continues with individual and team eliminations on Thursday in Antalya.

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