USA dominate in Archery….

The 32 best archers of the world have gathered this weekend in Istanbul, Turkey, for the Archery World Cup Final 2011, on the shores of the Bosphorus, exactly where the East meets the West. The three compound gold medals at stake on Saturday were clinched by USA. Rodger WILLET Jr won the individual men’s title against his fellow countryman Reo WILDE USA dominate.

Erika ANSCHUTZ was crowned on the female side, defeating another American Christie COLIN. The mixed team match against the host country also turned in favour of WILLET and COLIN. The individual bronze medals went to the Italians Sergio PAGNI and Marcella TONIOLI.

The Kucuksu Palace in Istanbul is hosting the 2011 World Cup Final competition, just across the river from the Rumeli Castle, nearby the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. The compound categories opened the event on Saturday, 24 September. The recurve division will compete on Sunday.

The compound athletes shot matches of 15 arrows with cumulative scores all the way to the gold medal match. In the case of a tie, one single arrow is shot to break the tie, the closest to the centre being the winner.

Compounds also competed for the Longines Prize for Precision awarded to the two most precise archers (one male and one female) of the World Cup season. The two Americans and new World Cup champions Rodger WILLET Jr and Erika ANSCHUTZ received a trophy, a watch and a cash prize of 5,000 Swiss francs each.

Compound Men – Semifinals

Four previous World Cup Final winners out of five were still present in the World Cup Final semifinals: Reo WILDE (USA), 2006, Jorge JIMENEZ (ESA), 2007, and Sergio PAGNI (ITA), 2009 and 2010. Only Dietmar TRILLUS (CAN), winner in 2008, was out as he was defeated in quarterfinal in the morning.

Sergio PAGNI (ITA/6) v Reo WILDE (USA/2)
PAGNI has won four World Cup stages and two Finals in his career. The Italian is the only athlete able to repeat as a World Cup Final winner (2009, 2010). Will he win his third Final in a row? WILDE was individual world champion in 2009 and has won several team world titles. Ranked No. 2 in the world, the American has won several World Cup stages and the first ever Final in 2006 in Mexico. He was individual world champion in 2009 and team champion in 2007, 2009, and 2011. He has been competing for 16 years, including six in recurve.

WILDE beat PAGNI in the 1/8 elimination at Stage 3 in San Salvador back in 2006. However, the American was defeated by the Italian this year in the bronze final in Ogden.

Same start for the two competitors with 28 each. WILDE then took advantage of an 8 by his opponent in the second end to take the lead at 56-55. With a triple 9 to go on, PAGNI saw the American double his lead at 84-82.

The gap increased again with only three arrows to go as PAGNI scored another 8 in the fourth end, and WILDE had a 10-10-9 series (113-110). No surprise to finish the match with the American favourite taking victory by 142-138!

Rodger WILLET Jr (USA/1) v Jorge JIMENEZ (ESA/4)
WILLET is No. 1 in the world. He was bronze medallist at the Edinburgh World Cup Final and team world champion in 2007. WILLET won the first three World Cup stages this season. His run ended in Shanghai against his teammate Reo WILDE. As he did not qualify this year for the world championships, he only kept focussed on the World Cup, with success! JIMENEZ won two stages (Ulsan, Dover) and the Final (Dubai) in 2007 and the team bronze medal at the Ulsan 2009 World Championships. The competitor from El Salvador won the three previous face-to-face encounters with the Dane.

The advantage in the head-to-head matches between the two archers goes to the American, 3-0. WILLET beat JIMENEZ at the Antalya Stage both in 2010 and 2011 as well as in Porec this year.

The two archers started with 10-9-9 each, WILLET releasing his third arrow just a few seconds before the clock. JIMENEZ opened the second end with an 8 and he found himself trailing by two at 55-57.

Too many 8s for the archer from El Salvador in this semifinal to keep hopes alive: one more in the third end and two in the fourth! With only three arrows to go, WILLET took a comfortable 8-point lead after he scored a perfect fourth series (114-106) and the American finally earned the right to shoot for the World Cup title against his teammate WILDE with a 142-135 victory over JIMENEZ.

Compound Men – Bronze Medal Match

Jorge JIMENEZ (ESA/4) v Sergio PAGNI (ITA/6)
After a tied first end (27-27), JIMENEZ released a perfect second end and took the lead at 57-56. The tie remained after three ends in spite of an 8 for the archer from El Salvador at his ninth arrow (84-83).

PAGNI still trailed by one point with three arrows to go (112-113) and despite all arrows in the yellow so far. He finished the match with 10-10-9, enough to clinch a tie (9-10-9 for JIMENEZ) and the right to go to a tie-break. The two archers scored 10 each with their shoot-off arrows, but the Italian’s proved closer to the centre for victory and World Cup bronze after he won two gold medals in a row in 2009 and 2010!

Compound Men – Gold Medal Match

Rodger WILLET Jr (USA/1) v Reo WILDE (USA/2)
The best two archers in the world faced each other for the World Cup Final title and the two are still in the race for the Longines Prize for Precision (WILLET 415, WILDE 411).

WILDE had the best start with a perfect first end. He led WILLET by two points (30-28) after the latter opened the match with an 8 but he then went on shooting eight 10s in a row to lead 58-56 after two ends and 88-83 after three.

WILLET then went out of the 10-ring for two arrows, but with 9-9-10, against 9-10-10 for WILDE, he still led by four (116-112) with one end to go. WILDE came back strongly in the final end with 10-10-9. However, a final triple 9 was enough for WILLET to clinch victory by 143-141.

WILLET also wins the Longines Prize for Precision with 424 tens during the World Cup season, against 418 for WILDE.

Compound Women – Semifinals

After the World Cup Final defender Albina LOGINOVA (RUS) was kicked out by Marcella TONIOLI (ITA) in the quarterfinals, her arch-rival, Erika ANSCHUTZ (USA), looks like the favourite for this year’s title. However, ANSCHUTZ’s teammate Christie COLIN (USA) and the surprising Seyedeh-Vida HALIMIANAVVA (IRI) have not said the last word.

Christie COLIN (USA/6) v Seyedeh-Vida HALIMIANAVVAL (IRI/7)
COLIN is the reigning team world champion and has won several team and mixed team World Cup stages. HALIMIANAVVAL won the World University Championships 2010 in China and was team silver medallist at the 2011 World Championships in Italy back in July this year.

The wind has been quite tricky since the morning. In such a situation, COLIN had the best start with a triple 9, against 8-9-8 for her opponent. The American took an early lead at 27-25. COLIN repeated in the second and third ends (9-9-9 and 9-9-9).

The first archer to shoot a 10, however, was HALIMIANAVVAL at her sixth arrow. She still trailed by two after two ends (52-54), but recovered one point thanks to two other 10s in the third end (80-81).

In the fourth end, COLIN released two 8s and let her opponent come back at 107-107. Tension was high with only three arrows to go each… While the American opened the final end with a perfect X10, the Iranian scored only an 8. Trailing by two before the last arrow, HALIMIANAVVAL finished with a low 7. She let victory go to COLIN, who clinched the match with a final 10 (136-131).

Erika ANSCHUTZ (USA/1) v Marcella TONIOLI (ITA/4)
ANSCHUTZ was 3rd in Scotland last year. This year she finished 1st in Porec and 2nd in Shanghai and Ogden. The American is the No. 1 in the world. She won team gold and individual bronze at the 2011 world championships back in July. TONIOLI won the World Cup stage in Ogden and the mixed team world championships event this year. The Italian is 5th in the world ranking. She defeated the defending champion Albina LOGINOVA (RUS) in their quarterfinal.

The two ladies competed against each other twice this year. ANSCHUTZ won in the quarterfinal at the world championships in Italy in July, but TONIOLI took revenge one month later in the gold final at the World Cup Stage 3 in Ogden.

With a 7 at her third arrow, ANSCHUTZ trailed by one after one end (26-27) but with a perfect second series, the American took back the lead from her opponent at 56-54. Though shooting 10-10-9 in the third end, TONIOLI let another point go after her opponent repeated a perfect series with 10-10-10 (86-83).

Another 7 by TONIOLI at the end of the fourth end took all hope away from the Italian to recover in the match. She trailed by six points with only three arrows to go (109-115). She had a burst of pride in the final end with a perfect 10-10-10 series, but ANSCHUTZ could manage the end of the match and win 143-139.

Compound Women – Bronze Medal Match

Marcella TONIOLI (ITA/4) v Seyedeh-Vida HALIMIANAVVAL (IRI/7)
The archer from Iran took the lead in the first end (28-27) despite shooting an 8 at her second arrow. HALIMIANAVVAL doubled her advantage at 56-54 after two ends. However, with a bad shot (6!) at her second arrow in the third end, she let TONIOLI come back and take the lead at 81-80.

The Italian then scored three 9s, and with 10-9-9 her opponent managed to tie the match at 108-108 with only three arrows to go. TONIOLI started the final end with an 8, and HALIMIANAVVAL took the lead again with a 9. Then she repeated with another 9, and TONIOLI tied the match again with a 10. After a final 9 by the Iranian, the Italian needed a 10 to win. And she got it to clinch the bronze medal!

Compound Women – Gold Medal Match

Erika ANSCHUTZ (USA/1) v Christie COLIN (USA/6)
With gusts of wind blowing on the field, it was hard for the athletes to remain stable. And it is certainly what happened to COLIN at her second arrow of the match when she shot a 6 (!) She trailed by four points already after the first end (25-29).

The two ladies kept their arrows in the yellow in the second end and the gap remained at 57-53 in favour of ANSCHUTZ. She increased her lead at 85-80 after her opponent scored an 8 to open the following series. Shooting close to perfection despite windy conditions, ANSCHUTZ kept increasing her lead and she needed a 5 to win at her last arrow.

A gust of wind just when she released and her arrow hit the 7-ring, the first arrow out of the yellow for her but this was enough to clinch ANSCHUTZ’s first World Cup Final victory (142-138)! The latter clinched the Longines Prize for Precision at the same time, finishing the World Cup season with 304 tens.

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 win the trophy, a watch and a cash prize of 5,000 Swiss francs. The recurve division compete for the Prize in even years, while compounds shoot for it in odd years (2011). The athletes who shoot the most 10s in all World Cup individual qualifications and matches as of the 1/16 eliminations win this prestigious prize.

On the male side, WILLET dominated the ranking since the first stage. However, WILDE came back very close thanks to a magnificent victory in Shanghai. WILLET had shot 398 tens before the Istanbul started, while WILDE trailed by five, totalling 393. Both winning their quarterfinal on Saturday morning, the situation had become even closer at 407-403. After the semifinals, the situation remained unchanged with 415-411 in favour of WILLET. Facing each other for gold, the decision was made when WILLET added nine perfect shots to his count and won the match. With a total of 424 tens during the World Cup season, he finished six points ahead of his teammate with 418.

On the women’s side, there was a close race between four athletes entering this Final. While the Russian LOGINOVA and the Italian LONGO were out after losing their quarterfinal matches, ANSCHUTZ was the best placed with 284 tens shot so far. COLIN could have still made it (262), but she had to count on a big “faux pas” by her teammate. Winning the gold final match against her teammate, ANSCHUTZ won the Longines Prize for Precision with 304 tens shot in the entire World Cup season.

Archery World Cup Final Facts

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

The recurve athletes will take the field on Sunday, 25 September. The matches will be contested in the best-of-five sets format. Each set consists of 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 the case of a tied match at 5-5 in set points, a one-arrow shoot-off is shot. The winner is the archer whose arrow is closest to centre.

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