China 1st Paralympic mixed team champions

12 September 2016
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
The first of three Paralympic mixed team finals saw China upset favourite Iran.

It was a near-perfect run for China’s recurve open pair, as Wu Chunyan and Zhao Lixue took the first-ever Paralympic mixed team gold medal.

The category was newly introduced ahead of the Rio Games.

“Today I can stand on the tallest medal stand and wear the crown,” Lixue said.

“The medal tastes delicious,” Wu added. It is Wu’s first Paralympic medal. She won three golds during the 2015 World Archery Para Championships in Donaueschingen, Germany. 

The Chinese duo steadily made it through the brackets with three 6-0 victories over the Czech Republic, Thailand and then Mongolia. The other teams struggled with the high winds and there was a number of shoot-offs.

“It’s a little hard because of the wind and that has a lot of effect on the match,” Wu said. “We just communicated with our coach and encouraged each other to do better and better.”

Zahra Nemati and Ebrahim Ranjbarkivaj finished with silver for Iran, after they narrowly edged Great Britain in the quarterfinals. The match went to a tiebreaker, and was decided on a measure of the second arrow.

In the final, China and Iran battled it out to the end.

The final score was 5-3, and it was only decided with the last arrow. Nemati, probably the most popular archer in the Sambodromo, shot two points short of what she needed to secure the title. (The crowd, still, went crazy for her – she developed something of a following during the Olympics in Brazil.)

“This is the first day of the championships,” Nemati said. “I think I need to do some work in the next few days.”

Italy’s Elisabetta Mijno and Roberto Airoldi took bronze with a 5-1 victory over the underdog Mongolia, seeded 11th but finishers in the top four.

Mijno was happier with the bronze medal than her silver in the W2 from London 2012. 

“The bronze medal and the gold medal are very similar because you finish the competition with a victory.” Mijno said. “It’s a much better feeling than finishing with a loss.”

The para archery competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games runs 10-17 September in the Sambodromo.