Competition bests for Slovenian compounders in Veronica’s Cup qualifying

Slovenia’s compound mixed pair at the Veronica’s Cup in 2022.

Toja Ellison (709), Aljaz Brenk (712), Marie Horackova (670) and Conor Hall (677) seeded top after qualification at the 2022 Veronica's Cup in Kamnik, Slovenia. All four recorded career-best scores over the 72-arrow qualifying round in optimum shooting conditions at this weekend’s world ranking in the town in the north of Slovenia.

Fresh off of their pairs silver at the first stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Antalya, the day was extra special for the Slovenia pair of Ellison and Brenk, who shot a new European record – subject to ratification – for compound mixed team qualification.

“I actually worked on something completely new, something new technically, today. I was also really working on my mental process,” explained Ellison, who was a late addition to the entry list.

“I was kind of scared how it was going to get, but I was like ‘this is the event to test it’. I think it might be paying off… I think I will keep doing it,” added the 28-year-old, who beat her previous best in this level of competition (705) by four points, but said she had shot up to 710 in other tournaments.

Brenk beat his qualification best of 699 and smashed it by 13 today.

“I was just shooting calm,” explained the 18-year-old reigning world youth champion. “For the last three weeks at our national team training, I was shooting all the time good scores and I knew I could shoot that [qualification] score, but I just needed everything to be perfect and today it happened.”

Brenk came second at the last edition of the Veronica’s Cup, in 2021, and was philosophical about his chances to go one better in 2022.

“I need to just shoot as I shot today and we will see how it's going to be.”

The highest world-ranked recurve woman in Kamnik, the Czech Republic’s Marie Horackova registered a 17-point increase on her previous competition best, shooting an impressive 670. The 24-year-old was a last-minute qualifier for last summer’s Olympic Games.

“I am happy how this season has started and we’ll see what the next competitions bring,” said the world number 39. “I feel physically strong and that makes me more confident. I also worked on my mental game.”

“Last year, I started work with my mental coach and am still working on my technique, so all these things work together and this is the result,” she added. “I like shooting at the Veronica’s Cup because of its friendly atmosphere and the nature around it, plus my club members are able to shoot here so I feel more relaxed with them around.”

It is already the second time this season that Marie has shot a tournament-best score. She hadn’t topped 650 on the world stage before the start of the season. Her latest level is indicative of an archer who can contest podiums at the elite level.

The recurve men’s pole went to Great Britain’s Conor Hall, who is not even part of Great Britain’s elite programme and does not have a world ranking. But he delivered a qualifying score of 677 points.

“It’s been a very good experience,” he said. “It’s a personal best for me and such a lovely place to do it.”

Competition continues at the 2022 Veronica’s Cup on Saturday with eliminations.

Top seeds: 2022 Veronica’s Cup