Sixteenth seeded Ukrainian women win first worlds gold
The Ukrainian compound women admitted that they did not have any high expectations after the ranking round since, as the 16th team qualifying for the head-to-heads, they faced top seed and reigning World Champion Colombia in the first round.
The blue and yellow team beat the favourite Colombians by six points to launch a run to the final at Copenhagen 2015. With an average age of 19 for the team, Mariya Shkolna, 17, Viktoriya Dyakova, 21, and Olena Borysenko, 19, also defeated the host nation Denmark on the way.
For this year’s worlds in Copenhagen, 17-year old Evelien Groeneveld joined Inge and Irina. Evelien had silver at the World Archery Youth Championships in Yankton earlier in 2015.
Against Ukraine in the gold medal match, the Orange team had the best start and led by three after the first end. They were still ahead, but by one, entering into the final six arrows.
That was the time Mariya, Viktoriya and Olena chose to attack, shooting two 10s to open the last end. They turned the game to their advantage, taking the lead for the first time at 189-188.
The tension was palpable at Christianborg Palace. When Inge Van Caspel shot an eight with her last arrow, a great ‘Oh’ came from the stands.
“I ruined everything with one arrow,” exclaimed Inge after the match. “I was shaking and then it was a low eight.”
Prayers were said but the Dutch girls could not recover with only two arrows left – and Ukraine took gold.
“We won a world gold medal for the first time,” said Olena Borysenko, still high from the celebration on the field. Ukraine has an excellent record at the indoor worlds but never before a world title outdoors.
“This is a very important medal for Ukraine, especially for compound archers in our country,” she explained.
The match against third seed Korea for the medal, however, did not run their way. Kim Yun Hee, Choi Bomin and Seol Dayeong took an early lead that they would just keep increasing to end five points up, 229-224.
After finishing eighth in Belek, the Korean compound women made a large leap forward to climb the podium.
“We were focused on our game, not on Venezuela,” Choi Bomin, a previous team World Champion as a recurve archer, explained. “We don’t know them, we don’t know how they shoot. Not worrying about shooting against them at all is what helped us beat them.”
Dominant in recurve competition, Korea has also been coming stronger and stronger in the compound bow division, thanks to hard work.
“In our country we train together, we stay in the same room for a long time, so we are very dedicated to our training,” Choi added. “That’s how our competition level is getting higher with time.”
Choi’s teammate Kim Yun Hee is up for a medal in the individual event – shooting for gold in the afternoon against USA’s Crystal Gauvin. That would be the first ever world title for Korea in compound competition.