Bow International



The World Cup Final is usually a separate, glammed-up affair serving as a showcase for the very best of the sport, and previously held in some spectacula­r locations. Now broadcast in 18 countries, after a torrid couple of years for the internatio­nal circuit, a decision was taken essentiall­y to tack it on to the end of the World Championsh­ips in Yankton, using the same infrastruc­ture and with the athletes already on site. This made a lot of sense for all concerned, although of course it removed a little of the season-ending theatrical­ity. The heavy rain washing over the site on Thursday, after a relatively dry and calm World Championsh­ips, certainly didn’t help matters.

Some competitor­s received automatic invites by winning one of the three stages on the internatio­nal circuit – this year in Guatemala City, Lausanne and Paris – although the majority in the eight-strong fields earned their spot through consistent shooting throughout the year. In addition, the two Olympic champions (An San of Korea and Mete Gazoz of Turkey) were invited. However, An San declined her invitation politely, and her and the rest of the Korean delegation left South Dakota immediatel­y after the Worlds.

With the draw decided by drawing lots, the eight archers in each of the four categories go straight into competitio­n matchplay. Compound was held on the Wednesday and recurve on the Thursday.

In the compound men’s competitio­n, Mike Schloesser beat Braden Gellenthie­n, 148-144, in a rematch of the 2020 compound men’s World Cup final, to take back-to-back circuit trophies and a record third men’s title. Closing with a perfect 30 – and no sign of the shakes – it was another chapter in the long, friendly rivalry between the two. The pair have now met 14 times in major indoor and outdoor competitio­ns, with the current total 8-6 in Braden’s favour.

Mikey, the world number one, had already shot a 149-point match in the semis where his single nine had been caused by a deflection off another of his arrows already in the 10.

His title winning score of 148-144 is not the greatest match these two have played, but it was enough to get the job done. Gellenthie­n, for his part, added an eighth podium finish at the World Cup Final since 2007.

Sara Lopez added yet another World Cup Final title to her already record-breaking trip to Yankton, becoming the first archer to take six titles (Brady Ellison has five). It was also a fourth win on the trot. She beat Slovenia’s Toja Ellison in a back-and-forth affair to win 147-145. Ellison led from the second end but couldn’t find enough10s to close it out. It was Toja’s third World Cup final and the first one in which she found a podium place.

While most archers were already in South Dakota, one had flown out specially for the finals: Lisa Unruh. On a rain-soaked day, she became the first German winner of the recurve World Cup Final, defeating Elena Osipova of Russia – the silver medallist from Tokyo 2020. Unruh raced to a two-set lead over Osipova before the latter fought back hard; the high-quality final finished in a single-arrow tiebreak where both shot 10s – but Lisa’s was better. On the way, she beat her teammate Michelle Kroppen, who had knocked out Deepika Kumari of India to take bronze – also in a shoot-off, putting two German women on the recurve podium.

All eyes were finally on the men’s title. Could Brady Ellison match Lopez’s record and salvage a year in which he was expected to sweep all before him? In the end, it was not to be as his teammate and protégé Jack Williams edged him out in a single arrow shoot-off.

Williams had eliminated the Olympic champion Mete Gazoz in the semifinal, opening with eight perfect arrows. In the final, Brady pushed ahead 4-2 and had a chance to win it in the third, but his third arrow landed a couple of millimetre­s out of the 10. Williams forced the tiebreak with another perfect set, and another 10 sealed the deal.

“Everyone saw how good he shot today, he had the hot hand and he had it all figured out and he shot well and that’s all that matters,” said Brady afterwards. A charitable statement, in a year where Brady has not distinguis­hed himself on that front. Williams has been improving for years but still the absence of Ellison on the top step of the podium this summer and autumn has been notable. Can he regain the white-hot form and motivation of 2019 again? We’ll see.

 ?? ?? Jack Williams (USA) took his first major title
Jack Williams (USA) took his first major title
 ?? ?? Lisa Unruh flew in specially – good call
Lisa Unruh flew in specially – good call
 ?? ?? Mete Gazoz took third place
Mete Gazoz took third place
 ?? ?? The rain came down on recurve day
The rain came down on recurve day

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