Archery gold medal comes down to one shot
Amedeo Tonelli and Lisa Unruh were crowned TWG 2017 champions in classical archery. The battle for women’s gold ended up coming down to a tie-breaker.
The first medals in archery have found their owners. Tuesday in Szczytnicki Park saw an emotional contest with excitement reaching fever pitch among fans in the jam-packed stands as they watched the dramatic gold-medal match between Lisa Unruh and defending champion Naomi Folkard.
After four rounds (of three shots a piece) there was no clear winner, despite the fact that the Brit had led by four points half way through. Her German opponent, an Olympic runner-up from Rio, pulled even with her third shot and with her fourth, fantastic shot found herself in a 52:52 tie. A tie-breaker –with one extra shot a piece – ensued. Unruh stepped up first and landed a bulls-eye. Folkard followed with a “three” and thus a new TWG champion was chosen.
“I came here with a plan to win a gold medal and I won it, so I’m happy. Of course, I was very, very nervous. The last two days were actually better than today. I don’t know why I didn’t shoot as well as I wanted,” observed Uhruh, with self-criticism. “But I’m sure the experience of winning this medal will stay with me,” she continued when asked to recall the dramatic circumstances in which she claimed the title. The bronze medal went to Italian Jessica Tomassi who defeated Laurence Baldauff of Austria.
Even without Tomassi’s third-place finish, the day turned out well for the Italian national team. Amedeo Tonelli followed in the victorious footsteps of his countrymen, Andrei Parentiego and Michele Frangilliego, TWG champions from 1993 and 2005 respectively. In the final, Tonelli took down one of archery’s biggest stars, Brady Elissona. The American is a four-time world cup winner, won three Olympic medals and twice was crowned world champion in field archery, but came up short yet again in his quest for The World Games gold.
Monday’s exciting match between Tonelli and Elissona provided the first taste of what was yet to come for two of the top contestants in this year’s competition. Tonelli was a winner then too and as a reward had his choice of group for the final round. He ended up with Mitija Mihalicia and the Croatian started out hot, setting the bar high before falling to Tonelli 62:61. In the gold-medal face-off, the Italian got off to an excellent start, leading from the first to the last shot. The finalscore was 61:58.
“It was a great feeling,” said Tonelli. “I’m quite pleased with my performance. I knew already after the qualifiers that Brady would be a really tough rival. I’m a good archer, but not as good as him. But I just tried to concentrate on the contest itself and not the opponent. Wining yesterday’s match gave me confidence. The worst actually is the semi-final, not the final. If you lose then, you might have to go home without a medal at all. When you get to the final, you’ve already done 90% of the work – you’ve got a medal sewn up and you just have to choose if it will be gold or silver. That’s why I usually do better when I get to the final.”
Japan’s team also had reason to celebrate. Their teammate, Wataru Oonuki ascended to the top of the medal podium after successfully defending her title on Monday. It was the first medal of the Games for Japan and indeed for any Asian archer in the history of The World Games.
Wednesday will see Szczytnicki Park host barebow competitions. Poland will be represented by MartynaWiśniewska and Mateusz Siejko.