Bakker beats Olympic Champion Gazoz on way to Plovdiv gold

Willem Bakker of the Netherlands' wins the 2022 Plovdiv Cup

Recurvers Willem Bakker and Chiara Rebagliati and compound archers Emircan Haney and Mariya Shkolna took individual titles at the European Grand Prix and world ranking event in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on Saturday 8 May.

The Netherlands’ 17th-seed Bakker saw off Luxembourg’s Jeff Henckels in a tense shoot-off (10-9) to take the recurve men’s gold medal, as the former world (2018) and European (2019) youth field archery silver medallist looks to make a name for himself in the senior target discipline.

“I’m feeling pretty good, the last shot was truly amazing and it’s awesome to win,” said the 21-year-old, who defeated the top seed and reigning Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz earlier in eliminations, 6-2.

“I was staying on appointment, keeping myself in my own routine, [having] my own problems to solve and just doing my thing,” continued Bakker. “Truly, this is an amazing win. I’ve been really trying in the past couple of years to move towards the outdoor field and I’ve proven now I’m a serious contender.”

Italy’s Chiara Rebagliati took gold in the recurve women’s event, also in a shoot-off. Her nine measured closer to the centre to overcome the challenge from France’s world youth champion Caroline Lopez. It is Rebagliati’s first individual podium at an event of this level.

“I am really happy, because after the gold medal with the team yesterday it was very important for me to do the best in this match today,” said the 25-year-old, who had beaten the runner-up at the first stage of this year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup (and top seed in Plovdiv), Laura van der Winkel, in a five-set semifinals. “There was a little bit more wind than yesterday, but my feeling was really good and I tried to do the best arrow-by-arrow.”

Mariya Shkolna was the only top seed in Plovdiv to go on to take gold. She won the compound women’s competition with a better 10 in a shoot-off against Turkey’s Songul Lok. Shkolna shot first in the tiebreak, landing her arrow left of centre – and good enough to see off a linecutter from Lok.

“It shows a lot of the work that was done before the competition, it’s a really good sign,” explained Shkolna about what the victory meant. “It gives us great confidence and experience for future matches.”

After seeding fourth in qualification, Turkey's Emircan Haney beat Italy’s Leonardo Costantino by two in the compound men’s final, 143-141. The Italian archer had knocked out world number 12 Yakup Yildiz – the reigning European Champion – in the quarterfinals.

Haney took an early two-point lead (29-27) in the final and had doubled it to four (88-84) going into the fourth end. From then on it was a cruise to victory.

“It made me more relaxed and I wanted to make more advantage for myself,” said Haney about taking that early lead and if it helped him settle. “I believed in myself and I had that feeling for winning gold. This will be very important for my confidence this season.”

His win improved on his three top 10 competition finishes already this season and will push him up from his current 74th spot in the world rankings.

The Grand Prix in Plovdiv is one of two world ranking events running in Europe this weekend. The Veronica’s Cup, in Slovenia, will finish tomorrow.

Champions: Plovdiv 2022

  • Recurve men: Willem Bakker, Netherlands
  • Recurve women:  Chiara Rebagliati, Italy
  • Compound men: Emircan Haney, Turkey
  • Compound women: Mariya Shkolna, Luxembourg
  • Recurve men team: Turkey
  • Recurve women team: Italy
  • Recurve mixed team: Turkey
  • Compound men team: Turkey
  • Compound women team: Italy
  • Compound mixed team: Italy

Medal table: Plovdiv 2022

1. TUR flag Turkey: 9 (4 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze)
2. ITA flag Italy: 7 (4 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
3. LUX flag Luxembourg: 3 (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
4. NED flag Netherlands: 2 (1 gold, 1 silver)

A total of 30 medals (10 gold, 10 silver, 10 bronze) were collected by athletes representing nine countries in Plovdiv.