Five archers who impressed at the third stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup
Here are the five archers who we think impressed most in Paris.
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A salute to the Brazilian flag, a flag which has the words Ordem e Progresso (Order and Progress) written across it. Perhaps, the overriding image from Paris of the South American military man.
Order and progress are something which is defining Brazil’s Marcus D’Almeida season so far, a season he has said is “...more professional than ever.”
The 24-year-old recurve man’s individual gold medal came after the defeats of Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz, the London 2012 Olympic Champion Oh Jin Hyek and the rising young star of the Korean squad, Kim Je Deok, in back-to-back-to-back matches.
At his first event on the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit, D’Almeida missed out on a final fours place after losing against Rick van der Ven in a tiebreak. He finished seventh.
Paris was different. A near-perfect final arrow beat his Korean opponent’s nine. It meant gold, his first major win and a place at the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final
“In Korea, it was just a shoot-off that kept me out of the finals. We adjusted our aim over the last four weeks of work.”
“This is my moment. I am so proud of where I am,” he said. “It’s been intense. Now the aim is on Mexico.”
Compound woman Jyothi Surekha Vennam entered competition in Paris as the highest-ranked in the world competing (world rank: 3).
Not bad, considering it was her first circuit appearance of the year after not making the initial Indian squad for this season.
She left the French capital with team and individual medals: silver in compound women’s individual and gold in compound mixed team. A fourth in compound women’s team nearly completing a trio of podiums.
“It’s been a long time since I got to the international team and I tried to perform my best and give my best,” said Vennam who only missed out on individual gold to the in-form Ella Gibson by a shoot-off. “I am happy we finally got a gold medal.”
Mixed teammate Abhishek Verma revealed that Vennam had qualities which were not just limited to her individual competition.
“Jyothi is a very strong partner,” he said. “I feel very confident and I trust her completely because we have played together for a very long time.”
In Paris, the 2019 World Archery Youth Championship gold medallist won his – and Norway’s – first-ever Hyundai Archery World Cup stage medal.
Faugstad’s silver was his first podium place on the circuit in his eighth attempt. It was very nearly gold.
Standing in his way in the compound men’s individual final was an archer on his way to fulfilling it seemed, a destiny (see below) in front of his home crowd, Nicolas Girard, who won 148-145 with three perfect ends.
Faugstad’s face at the end of the match and on the podium suggested huge disappointment and a fire burning inside to go that one step higher.
The stats suggest he has a lot more to come too, with his average arrow (9.68) and qualification best (706) in 2022 so far below his 2019 best (9.77/707) the year he last won a medal.
“There are a lot of nerves and thoughts that you have to process when you stand on the final arena and have to perform,” said his coach Morten Boe. “Anders provided excitement throughout both finals but faced solid opposition in the gold final.”
It was destiny it seemed for the home-based Nicolas Girard in front of a passionate support at the Château de Vincennes.
Having been added to the French squad after missing the first two stages of the circuit and the European Championship, Girard grasped his opportunity.
The château was one of the best fortresses in the region in its heyday and it witnessed impenetrable performances from the 22-year-old on compound finals Saturday.
Men’s team gold before lunch and men’s individual gold before teatime.
Another three ends of 30 saw off Anders Faugstad in the final (148-145).
But it was his ability to keep up with (and eventually beat) Mister Perfect, Mike Schloesser, in his eliminations match that maybe impressed the most. Schloesser had not lost on the circuit this year, but it went to a shoot-off (148-148) and Girard was the more accurate.
“I wanted to prove that I belong here,” said Girard. “And that I could compete. Here I am.”
5. Penny Healey
All four recurve women in the final fours deserve a mention here, but let’s talk about the one who missed out on a medal – Penny Healey.
Multiple 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup medallist Charline Schwarz, Olympic champion An San and Lei Chien-Ying were all seen off en route to her semi-final, where she lost to eventual gold medallist Agu Utano.
Despite heartbreak on finals Sunday, Healey will remember her Friday afternoon in Paris with back-to-back victories over San and former World Archery Champion Lei.
“It would be wrong to say that I'm not disappointed with the fact I didn't come away with a medal, but on reflection…it was a pretty good week,” said Healey on Monday.
“I got the furthest I ever have on the world cup circuit individually, knocked out a world champion as well as an Olympic champion, pushed every head to head to the maximum and put in some amazing head to head scores leading up to this stage.
"I definitely know what I need to work on for my next set of individual finals, but knowing that this is just the start of a long journey for me helps me move forward and work on those things in order to become the best I could possibly be.”
Healey won the Indoor Archery World Series Finals in February and is shooting the best arrows of her, admittedly, short career (9.02) with a career-best world ranking of 31.
It’s onwards and upwards for the 17-year-old.