Ellison outshoots world champion to inaugural compound women’s title at European Games

26 June 2019
Minsk, Belarus
The second European Games is the first to include compound competitions.

Slovenia’s Toja Ellison beat Russian reigning World Archery Champion Natalia Avdeeva in a shoot-off, 10 to eight, to win the inaugural compound women’s title at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus.

“This is one of my biggest achievements, so I am freaking happy about it,” said Ellison. “Honestly, I’ve been waiting for this. I was hungry for this, and I wasn’t giving up.”

This is the first time that compound competitions have been included on the programme at the European Games. Minsk saw 16 of the best women from across Europe – a maximum of one from each country – shoot for the inaugural champion title.

Ellison and Avdeeva seeded one and two.

Avdeeva, the world champion for less than two weeks, already took mixed team gold earlier in the event. She opened the final strong. Ellison, meanwhile, shot a seven in the second end.

“I started good and had one shot that wasn’t like me, but it happened. The wind caught me and it went wide, maybe a little further than I expected. But it gave me some power to continue,” said Toja.

“In my head, I said, ‘I’m not giving up that easy.’ Natalia is an amazing archer, but I said, ‘I am going to shoot my tens and I will see if she drops enough’. It gave me motivation.”

The Slovenian archer pulled a point back in the third end and then a wincing Avdeeva sent a few bad arrows down in the fourth and fifth. The match was tied after the regulation 15 arrows at 144 points each.

In the shoot-off, Ellison opened with a solid but beatable 10. Avdeeva could only manage an eight.

“I like to just straight-up win, but it’s better to have a shoot-off than the end of the match,” said Ellison, laughing. “Getting to a shoot-off was what I wanted, and then I was really determined I was going to shoot my best shot, and hope it was enough.”

“The way the match was going, I was just happy. I let it all out. We bottle so many emotions as archers, we need to smile for the match, try to enjoy it, even though it’s a very stressful situation.”

Avdeeva did not show the solidity and calm that took her to the world title in ’s-Hertogenbosch. She even seemed rattled on the stage.

“It was okay. I had a little problem with the wind, I had a little problem with my shot. But it was my mistake,” she said. “I think I did something wrong with my last arrow. Maybe when I watch the video I’ll see the mistake. But I have two medals here, and I will prepare for the next competition.”

Third seed Sophie Dodemont of France beat fifth seed Yesim Bostan of Turkey to the compound women’s bronze medal. It was one-sided.

Bostan shot four nines in the first two ends and never recovered. A rock-solid Dodemont took the match, 148-142.

“I’m proud it was a good score today in the bronze medal match and I’m happy to go back home with it,” said Sophie. “We had a good start [to the week] for the French team here, and will still have opportunities tomorrow, and I hope what I did today will give them a boost.”

She was referring to the last day of competition in Minsk, when the compound and recurve men’s titles will be awarded – along with up to two quota places to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The archery competitions at the 2019 European Games take place on 21-27 June in Minsk, Belarus.