French 22-year-old Girard to make final four debut on home soil

Nicolas Girard facing world number one Mike Schloesser at Paris 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup.

Nicolas Girard is on cloud nine this week after confirming a career-first final four on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit.

On home soil at the third stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Paris, the compound men’s 16th seed is through to the semifinals where he will face fifth seed Braden Gellenthien on Saturday.

This individual clash comes after he shoots for compound men’s team gold alongside Jean Philippe Boulch and Quentin Baraer in the finals arena.

“I’ve been preparing for this, waiting for a year,” said the 22-year-old, who is in his second senior season.

“I’m very happy and proud to be able to represent my country, especially in our capital city of Paris, and to be able to shoot in this magnificent castle of Vincennes.”

Best known for his indoor achievements, he has won several medals in the Indoor Archery World Series, including the title in Vegas this year, as well as the bronze medal at the 2022 European Indoors in Slovenia.

“I prefer shooting indoors,” he says. “It’s really my favourite discipline and it’s where I have the most fun because the weather conditions don’t change.”

But talent speaks outdoors also.

Since joining the France national senior team last year and competing in two Hyundai Archery World Cup stages in 2021 – Lausanne and Paris – he already counts two team medals from last season on his resume, silver at the European Championships in Antalya and bronze at his circuit home stage.

“They were my first senior medals, I have a very good memory of them,” Nicolas said of those podiums.

Girard just missed out on selection for the top French team in 2022. Boulch, Baraer and Adrien Gontier were sent to represent the tricolour at the first two stages of the year.

But returning to the squad one year later for the leg at home, he’s already guaranteed one podium with Boulch and Baraer. The French compound men have made a third consecutive final on the tour. 

“I would like to win the gold medal with my team,” he said. “We are very close-knit, there is a very good understanding in the team, and whether with the team or individually, we are there for each other with a lot of mutual support.”

Turkey and France will shoot for compound men’s team gold at Paris 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup.

Girard will then tackle his first individual semifinal in the arena just a few hours later.

His place in the last eight was won with a gold medal-winning moment in itself: a hard-fought victory over world number one, a man who was previously unbeaten in 2022, Mike Schloesser.

It wasn’t easy but Girard came out best in a very close last-16 shoot-off.

“The match I was most looking forward to was the one against Mike, that was the goal I had set myself,” he explained. “I didn’t expect to beat him at all, I’m very happy I did.”

Girard will face experienced USA international Braden Gellenthien for a place in the gold medal match, with the aim to “…go as far as possible”. Gellenthien is a two-time Hyundai Archery World Champion and will be a tough opponent.

No matter how far he gets, Girard will certainly write a new good memory on Saturday – and one no doubt buoyed by the enthusiastic support of a home crowd.

Competition continues in Paris with recurve eliminations on Friday afternoon.