Adriana Espinoza familiarises herself with arena in Tokyo

Adriana's first practice in the finals arena.

Adriana Espinoza arrives in Tokyo as the first Ecuadorean archer to qualify for the Olympics in the nation’s history.

It’s a distinction she perhaps unexpectedly won at the Monterrey 2021 Pan American Championships, just six years after picking up a bow. She’s worked hard ever since to meet the minimum required score to compete at the Games.

“I’m super excited,” Espinoza said. “It’s honestly a unique experience in life, and I’m very happy to be here.” 

A relative unknown in the international archery world, Espinoza has only competed in a handful of events in her career.

Tokyo is especially new for her – particularly the arena at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, which is where her first match – and any she subsequently secures a berth for will take place.

In addition to its imposing size, it features the iconic Olympic rings displayed just above the targets where her arrows will land.

“Honestly, I was nervous to practice there,” she said. “I have never shot on that type of finals field before, as I don’t normally make the finals, so it was a very different experience for me to get used to what the eliminations would be like.”

Espinoza’s journey to Tokyo included some time in Medellin, Colombia, which is where she was able to shoot the minimum score of 605 points for the qualifying round that validated her ticket for the Games, while also fine-tuning her equipment and technique.

She’d mark this historic trip as a victory if she hits similar results to those she’s achieving in training.

“Sometimes in competition I get nervous, and I end up not doing so well,” Espinoza said. “Doing the same [as I do at home] would be more than successful for me.”

However her Olympics ends, just having Adriana in Tokyo is a win for archery in Ecuador.

Qualification at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games takes place on 23 July.

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