Lausanne, Jan 2014: Current recurve women’s World Champion Maja JAGER was named Denmark’s Athlete of the Year last Saturday. She beat motorcar driver Tom KRISTENSEN – who has won multiple 24-hour races at Le Mans – and World Champion Skeet shooter Jesper HANSEN to the award live on national Danish television.
“Maja JAGER is the rightful winner,” said President of the Danish National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark Niels NYGAARD. “At the World Championships in Turkey she took out all the top archers one by one, among them the Olympic Champion from London.”
JAGER had not made it past the 1/16 elimination round in an international competition during the 2012 and 2013 seasons before upsetting the world numbers one and two – KI Bo Bae and YUN Ok Hee from Korea – on the way to gold at the Belek World Championships last October.
She took an early lead in the final against Chinese Olympic team silver medallist XU Jing, but her experienced opponent kept fighting back. Drawing at 5-all after five regulation sets, both JAGER and XU scored 10/9 line cutters at 2 o’ clock in the target face in the one-arrow shoot-off that would decide the match.
Reliving the match shortly afterwards, JAGER explained: “I could feel it was a good shot and I was happy with it. Then she shot one just like it, almost – and I thought hers was in.” But moments later, JAGER’s agent at the target lifted his arms in celebration, and the 21-year-old Danish archer was declared winner and World Champion by a millimeter.
Adding individual gold to the recurve women’s team bronze she had won that morning with Carina CHRISTIANSEN and Anne Marie LAURSEN, JAGER led Denmark to its most successful World Archery Championships ever. Her performance attracted national attention, placing her in line for the title of Denmark’s most successful athlete in 2013.
After picking up the award, an ecstatic Maja JAGER emphasized how much she appreciated the recognition. “It’s a huge acknowledgement,” said the Danish star – and one that comes at a good time for archery in the country, which will host the next edition of the World Championships from 26 July to 2 August 2015 in Copenhagen. —- WA
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