Istanbul: where the world’s top archers meet

News/Photo by FITA: The world’s 32 best archers of 2011 are on their way to Istanbul, Turkey. They will compete in the Archery World Cup Final on 24-25 September on the shore of the Bosphorus, exactly where East meets West.

In the Istanbul showdown, there will be no second chance as the athletes start directly with single elimination matches in quarterfinals. The Kucuksu Palace will host the Final, just across the river from the Rumeli Castle, nearby the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.On Saturday, the compound athletes will play matches of 15 arrows with cumulative scores all the way to the gold medal match. In case of a tie, one single arrow will be shot to break the tie, the closest to the centre wins. The compound archers will also compete for the Longines Prize for Precision.
The recurve athletes will take the field on Sunday. The matches will be best-of five sets. Each set consists in three arrows and is worth two points; each archer gets one point in case of a tied set. The first archer with six set points wins the match. In case of a tied match at 5-5 in set points, a one-arrow shoot-off is played. The winner is the archer whose arrow is closest to centre.

–        The 32 individual athletes come from 15 countries, the same number of countries represented at the 2010 World Cup Final in Edinburgh.
–        10 of them have been world champions.
–        11 already participated in a World Cup Final and 6 already won it (3 of them were winners in Edinburgh).
–        They will all play for a share of prize-money and awards totalizing more than 150’000 CHF.

There will also be the season mixed team finals, between USA and the Turkish hosts in compound and between Korea and Turkey in recurve.

Recurve Men
The recurve men quarterfinal matches: are Joe FANCHIN (USA) v DAI Xiaoxiang (CHN), Dmytro HRACHOV (UKR) v Pedro ALCALA (MEX), Gael PREVOST (FRA) v OH Jin-Hyek (KOR), and the No. 1 seed Brady ELLISON (USA) v Yagiz YILMAZ (TUR).

Here are some key notes about the finalists.

ELLISON is the defending champion from Edinburgh. He won the first three World Cup stages this season, conceding defeat only in Shanghai. He also won the individual bronze at the Turin World Championships. ELLISON emerged as THE star of the archery world! OH Jin-Hyek won the individual silver medal and the team gold at the World Championships. He was 2nd to ELLISON at the World Cup in Antalya. He also won the team gold at the 2009 World Championships in Ulsan, where he set a world record for the FITA Round at the time.

The other archers have burst on the front stage this season. FANCHIN is the one who earned the best results, including an individual bronze medal at the Ogden World Cup stage and a victory at the Shanghai stage.

Recurve Women
The recurve women quarterfinal matches are: HAN Gyeonghee (KOR) v Berengere SCHUH (FRA), Deepika KUMARI (IND) v Alejandra VALENCIA (MEX), Inna STEPANOVA (RUS) v CHENG Ming (CHN) and the No. 1 seed JUNG Dasomi (KOR) v Natalia NASARIDZE (TUR).

HAN and JUNG are the two newcomers on the Korean team this season. They brilliantly qualified for the Final, but they disappointed at the Turin World Championships, earning only a team bronze medal. Together they won a team gold at the recent Universidad in Shenzhen. HAN was youth team champion in 2009.

The experienced SCHUH has become more consistent at the top level year after year. She won the individual Indoor World Championships in Nimes 2003 on home ground. In 2008, she earned the team bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games and the individual gold at the European championships. She recently placed 4th individually at the Turin World Championships and 2nd at the World Cup stage in Shanghai.

At 17 years old, KUMARI is an amazing talent. She is the 2009 individual cadet world champion and the 2011 junior world champion. At the senior level, she is the 2010 individual and team Commonwealth champion. She also won a team silver medal at the Turin World Championships in July and two individual medals at the Ogden and Shanghai World Cup stages.

The young STEPANOVA was silver medalist at the World Cup stage in Antalya last year and just won the Shanghai stage. CHENG won the Ogden stage, where VALENCIA was 3rd. The 17-year-old Mexican also won the Cadet bronze medal at the Youth World Championships in Legnica. NASARIDZE is making a comeback at the top level. She already shot for Turkey at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games and was 4th with her team at the Atlanta 1996 Games.

Compound Men
The compound men quarterfinal matches are: Reo WILDE (USA) v Paul TITSCHER (GER), Dietmar TRILLUS (CAN) v Sergio PAGNI (ITA), Jorge JIMENEZ (ESA) v Martin DAMSBO (DEN) and the No. 1 seed Rodger WILLET Jr. (USA) v Ali DAVARCI (TUR).

For the first time in history, all the previous World Cup Final winners will be present in the upcoming World Cup Final in Istanbul: WILDE (winner in 2006 with a perfect 120 points—at the time), JIMENEZ (2007), TRILLUS (2008) and PAGNI (2009, 2010). The last two will meet in the quarterfinals! TRILLUS is also the 2007 world champion, while PAGNI is the only athlete who repeated as a World Cup Final winner. He also won four World Cup stages in his career. Will he win his third Final in a row!? JIMENEZ won many World Cup medals and a team bronze at the Ulsan Worlds. WILDE was individual world champion in 2009 and has won several team world titles!

WILLET won the first three World Cup stages this season. His run ended in Shanghai against WILDE. WILLET was bronze medallist at the Edinburgh World Cup Final and team world champion in 2007. DAMSBO lost a very close shoot-off against PAGNI in quarterfinals in Edinburgh. In total five compound men return to the Final after Scotland: DAMSBO, WILLET, PAGNI, TRILLUS and JIMENEZ. TITSCHER is a new comer and a true underdog, while the Turkish wild card archer DAVARCI won two medals at the Youth World Championships in Legnica last month.

Compound Women
The compound women quarterfinal matches are: Laura LONGO (ITA) v Seyedeh-Vida HALIMIANAVVAL (IRI), Parsamehr MAHTAB (IRI) v Christie COLIN (USA), Marcella TONIOLI (ITA) v Albina LOGINOVA (RUS) and the No. 1 seed Erika ANSCHUTZ (USA) v Gizem KOCAMAN (TUR).

LOGINOVA was individual and team world champion in 2009, individual world champion in 2011, and world silver medalist in 2007. Last but not least, she is the World Cup Final defending champion from Edinburgh. Archrival ANSCHUTZ was 3rd in Scotland; this year she was 1st in Porec and 2nd in Shanghai and Ogden.

All the others are competing in their first World Cup Final. MAHTAB won the stage in Antalya and TONIOLI won in Ogden.

Longines Prize for Precision
The Longines Prize for Precision for archery was launched in 2010. The two most precise archers of the World Cup season will win the trophy, a watch and a cash prize of 5,000 Swiss francs. The recurve athletes compete for the Prize in even years, while the compound athletes shoot for it in odd years (2011). The athletes who shoot the most 10s during all individual qualifications and matches as of the 1/16 eliminations of the World Cup win the Longines Prize for Precision.

On the men’s side, WILLET has dominated the ranking since the first stage. However WILDE has come very close to him thanks to his magnificent victory in Shanghai. WILLET shot 398 tens, while WILDE trailed by five, totaling 393.

On the women’s side there is a close race between LONGO, ANSCHUTZ, LOGINOVA and COLIN. LONGO will arrive in Istanbul with the smallest possible lead over ANSCHUTZ (276 to 275), while LOGINOVA has 262 and Colin 255.

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