Olszewska beats two-time Paralympic Champion Nemati to guarantee podium finish

6 June 2019
’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Eric Bennett and Suresh Selvathamby will contest the recurve men’s open final in Den Bosch.

There will be no rematch of the recurve women’s open final between Wu Chunyan and Zahra Nemati from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games final at these world championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Nemati won’t defend her world title, either – after she lost in the semifinals to Poland’s Milena Olszewska.

The Polish archer seemed surprised by her astonishing performance. On Sunday, she’ll have a shot at her first individual gold against Wu of China.

Olszweska was bronze medallist in Rio, behind Nemati and Wu. She took third at London 2012 Paralympics and the para worlds in 2013, too. 

“My goal was to be in the top eight. If I’m right, it provided a quota spot for Tokyo Paralympics. I aimed for the top eight and said I would welcome everything above that. I think I'm still a bit shocked I advanced to the final and beat Zahra,” said Milena, unable to hide her happiness.

After four ends in ’s-Hertogenbosch, they were tied at 4-4. The Polish archer shot 26 to Nemati’s 24 to win the last set and the match.

It was the second time they have met in international competition. And it was the second time that Olszewska has won.

“We met for the first time last year. Then I looked forward a lot to that match. I felt really strong and I was really happy I could compete against her with such mental advantage. And last year I also won,” she said.

Despite the result, Olszewska said that having changed technique and equipment over the winter, she was missing comfort and consistency in her shooting during eliminations.

She will meet Wu in the final. The Chinese archer is on the path to regaining the world champion title that she last won in Donaueschingen in 2015.

“I’m happy. However, I have to stay focused on the next match. I want to be a champion,” she said.

Olszewska and Wu last met at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where the Chinese archer won, 7-1.

Nemati will fight for the bronze medal against world number three Svetlana Barantseva of Russia, who was the silver medallist four years ago.

In the recurve men’s open final, Eric Bennett of the USA will face Malaysia’s Suresh Selvathamby.

The Malaysian archer beat Bato Tsydendorzhiev of Russia, 7-3. Bato had earlier eliminated the defending champion Zhao Lixue

Whatever the final brings, Selvathamby will be a new face on the podium at the World Archery Para Championships. His only previous medal came at the para world ranking tournament earlier this year in Dubai.

Bennett, world champion in 2015, didn’t begin his match against Iranian Pouriya Jalalipour particularly well. But he recovered, winning the third and fourth ends to take the lead, 5-3.

They split the last – and the US archer won the match, 6-4.

Both Tsydendorzhiev, who is the world record holder for the ranking round, and Jalalipour are yet to win their first individual medals at a World Archery Para Championships. One will do so this weekend in  ’s-Hertogenbosch.

The 2019 World Archery Para Championships take place on 3-9 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.