Emotional Russia beats Netherlands to first-ever compound mixed team title at European Games
Russia’s mixed team of Natalia Avdeeva and Anton Bulaev beat Dutch double Mike Schloesser and Sanne de Laat to the compound gold medal at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus. The match was tied at 152 points and decided in a shoot-off, 18-17.
“For me, it's something new, like the Olympics, and I think it’s a perfect competition,” said an emotional Avdeeva, who recently won the world championships.
“When I shot the world champs, I was so nervous. Now, I'm going to the field and thinking: you must be first; your team must be first. Why not? You need this medal, for Russia. Now, I think we've done a good job.”
Russia was much stronger in the wind than any of their opponents, on a day of tricky, gusty conditions. Many teams sent arrows wide.
The Russian duo was the highest scoring squad on the mixed team field all day, dispatching Germany, 154-143, and Turkey, 152-145, to make the final.
Both the finalists used a boomerang formation, with the male archer going first – and last. After the first end, the Netherlands was three points down after an eight and a nine from Sanne.
With the wind swirling, they pulled back a point by the halfway point. A final nine from Schloesser in the third seemed to have handed the match to Russia. But the Dutch pair shot clean in the fourth end, while the Russian archers dropped two – and the match went to the tiebreak.
The first three arrows were nines. The door was open for Schloesser to finish the job. But he shot an eight – and the title went to Russia.
“It was windy, and sometimes you don't know where your dot must be. The last ends I was shooting just towards the centre and thinking: we must do it. We must have a 10," said Avdeeva.
It was not the first time Mike has had trouble with his last arrow of a final. This time it seemed the wind was to blame.
“I got a gust of wind on my arm. Of course, you come here to win, especially if you fight back that good,” said Schloesser.
“And yeah, I should have made that last arrow. I’m a little bit frustrated but I’m happy with the silver.”
Turkey beat Croatia for the compound mixed team bronze medal in a contest that started tight, until an eight from Amanda Mlinaric in the third end set Croatia back. They recovered a single point in the last, but the third spot went to Turkey.
“It was a good experience in the bronze medal match, we had a lot more confidence, we worked with each other, and we knew we could win,” said Yesim Bostan.
“I always focus on what I win, not on what I lost. At the end, I can say I earned something.”
The archery competitions at the 2019 European Games take place on 21-27 June in Minsk, Belarus.