Mexico strongest in Madrid? Team has 3 finalists at world youth championships

22 August 2019
Madrid, Spain
Two years ago in Rosario, Mexico didn’t have a single archer in an individual final.

Ana Paula Vazquez, Caleb Urbina and Sebastian Garcia have made it into individual gold medal matches at the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships, making Mexico the most successful nation across the individual competitions in Madrid.

The finals line-ups are very diverse. The eight individual finals, junior and cadet, will feature archers from 13 different nations. Mexico and Russia are the only countries with multiple finalists. Mexico has three, Russia has two.

“I’m very pleased. I didn’t realise how hard we battled to be here until now,” said Ana Paula. “I particularly worked hard to come because I wanted to prove myself and it shows that all the work I have done is paying off and that makes me super happy.”

After seeding fourth over the 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round, the 18-year-old beat Monica Galisteo, Li Kexin and Kamila Naploszek, all 6-2, to face Jang Minhee of Korea in the semifinals.

Vazquez won that match, too, in five sets, 6-4. It secured her a spot in the recurve junior women’s final against Colombian archer Valentina Acosta.

“I love feeling the nerves, it’s very beautiful to know that there are many things affecting your match like the wind, losing a set and then coming back, everything. I have enjoyed it since we started and I’m still very excited,” said Ana Paula.

Caleb Urbina upset top-seeded Korean recurve junior man Kim Je Deok in a double shoot-off to secure his place in the final.

“To be honest, the shoot-off was a bit nail-biting. Knowing the level that Korea has in terms of winning world championships made me felt a bit of pressure, but I managed to control myself and everything went the way I wanted,” he said.

Incredibly, Caleb and Je Deok tied all five sets of their match, scoring 29, 28, 29, 29 and 29 points. Both then shot a 10 with their first tiebreak arrows, forcing a second shot under the current rules.

Je Deok shot first, landing a 10. Caleb shot and his coach roared. It was another 10-10 situation but, this time, the Mexican was closer – and that mattered.

“I feel pure happiness, I never thought it was possible to get to this level after only two international events,” he said.

Mexico’s third gold medal match will actually be the first that is decided. Compound cadet man Sebastian Garcia will face Russia’s Daniil Kosenkov for gold at the end of the first session of finals on Saturday 24 August in front of Madrid’s Royal Palace.

Seventeen-year-old Garcia defeated Slovenia’s Tim Jevnisk by four, 146-142, in the semis to secure the berth.

In addition to the three finalists, Mexican cadets Carlos Vaca and Rodrigo Olvera have qualified for bronze medal matches. Mexico’s compound junior men’s, compound cadet women’s and recurve cadet men’s teams have made the semifinals.

The 2019 World Archery Youth Championships takes place on 19-25 August in Madrid, Spain.