Mete Gazoz tops recurve men’s qualification as European Games archery competition begins
Turkey’s Mete Gazoz topped the recurve men’s ranking round and Toja Ellison led compound women’s qualification at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus, as competition opened in hot conditions on the FC Minsk field.
“It was a good morning. I had fun. I was happy during the shoot, and the results were there, so it’s good,” he said.
The men’s lead switched several times over the course of the 72 arrows, but Gazoz seized the initiative at the last with a closing end of 57 to top the field with 685 points, a single point ahead of Pierre Plihon on 684. Sjef van den Berg was third with 679.
Plihon’s performance helped the French recurve men’s team qualify in first place, 10 points ahead of the Netherlands.
This competition is vital for Turkey and France as neither qualified any quota places for Tokyo 2020 at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch last week.
“Last week I was feeling really bad. I cannot say it was a good competition for me and my team. Right after the competition I said to myself, ‘I have to do something, I have to react, I have to recover’,” said Gazoz.
“I have a chance to get quota places here. So I have found some motivation inside since then. Especially in the mixed team, I have high confidence, because I think we are the best mixed team in Europe.”
The top-ranked recurve mixed team at these European Games will secure quota places for the next Olympics, along with the highest-finishing individuals not already qualified.
Slovenia’s Toja Ellison beat newly crowned world champion Natalia Avdeeva of Russia to the first seed in the compound women’s event.
“I’m feeling good about it. I started a little slow, but picked it up,” said Toja, who was the only archer to top 700 with 702 points.
“Everybody’s asking about expectations. I say the less you expect the better because it’s easier to let your body just do its thing. But I’m wishing for the best.”
The morning saw the German teams in a panic as their bows had still not arrived at the venue.
As usual, the archery field rallied round to find spares and Cedric Rieger, the only German recurve man in Minsk, had a bow and tab borrowed from Pit Klein of Luxembourg paired with arrows from Great Britain’s Alex Wise.
Considering the circumstances, his qualification was solid – at 646 for 28th.
“It was hard. The shooting tab was not mine, and it’s a little short. But I did my best out there,” said Rieger.
German compound woman Janine Meissner borrowed a bow from Spain’s Andrea Marcos. In a strange twist of fate, Janine qualified in 13th and Marcos in fourth – meaning they’ll face each other in the first round of eliminations.
All 48 recurve men and 16 compound women advance to the matchplay stage of the competition.
The archery competitions at the 2019 European Games take place on 21-27 June in Minsk, Belarus.