Japan’s Asian Para Games 2018 silver medallist Ueyama Tomohiro heaved a sigh of relief after sealing the gold medal in the recurve men’s open competition as the 5th Fazza Para Archery World Rankings tournament closed with some thrilling final matches on Monday, a press release from Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) said.
“I am so happy for what I said three days ago, I did it today. This win is big motivation to work even harder for the World Championships. I will look to secure a Tokyo 2020 quota there,” Tomohiro told Asian Paralympic Committee.
In an all-Asian affair, Tomohiro defeated Malaysia’s Suresh Selvathamby, also a silver medallist at 2018 Fazza event, 6-2 set points after the two were tied at 82-all after third set. The Japanese however was better in the fourth set winning 109-107. The bronze was clinched by Park Jun Beom of Republic of Korea.
The Osaka-based archer however feels he needs to improve on his concentration and power going ahead into the season which has the World Championships lined up in the Netherlands this June. “I have to work on my mental aspect and improve my concentration. I also need to gain more power to shoot better scores in windy conditions, like we had here.”
Great Britain tops medal tally
Aya Shinohara later made it two for Japan, taking the women’s W1 gold over South Korean Rio 2016 silver medallist Kim Ok-geum 122-116. It was, in fact, a revenge for the Japanese who along with Naka Yoshitsugu had lost to the Korean Kim and Jang Dae Sung in their Mixed team W1 Rec/ Comp gold medal match 116-126.
Shinohara, who wasn’t too confident of winning a gold coming into the event, is now targeting the World Championships.
However, it was Great Britain who topped the medals table with three golds and a silver on the concluding day. It was a proud moment for Hazel Chaisty who took her first ever gold medal in an international event. Chaisty along with David Phillips had already settled for the Mixed team Recurve Open silver losing 4-5 to Italians’ Elizabetta Mijno and Stefano Travisani. “I couldn’t have thought of starting the year in a better way. I reached my first international final here and took the gold and silver medals. This is special,” said the Manchester-based archer who prevailed over Annalisa Rosada 6-2 set points with the final scores reading 90- 81 points.
Pavlik wins Shoot-off
Later, Rio 2016 silver medallist Jodie Grinham clinched the second individual gold overcoming Italy’s Maria Andrea Virgilio 138-135, after a neck-and-neck fight till the end. “I have had an injury in my right shoulder this January. The gold has surely come as a surprise. I hope to continue the momentum.”
In the most thrilling and last final of the day, World No. 1 Marcel Pavlik prevailed over Australian Peter Marchant 10-8, after the regulation scores read 141-141. With both the archers shooting perfect 10s on couple of occasions, even making 30s in one set, it was a treat to watch for the crowd. “I was shivering before I hit the 7s (twice). I thought I will miss out the gold. But luckily, I pulled it off. Emotions were running high in the end.”
Asked about his World No. 1 tag, he added: “Performance matters more to me than the rankings. Probably (Alberto) Simonelli is a better archer than me. I will try to secure a Tokyo 2020 place in the Netherlands.”
Earlier, the semi-finals witnessed a few upsets as Rio 2016 Paralympic medallists Jess Stretton from Great Britain and Italian Alberto Simonelli, who broke his own world record in the ranking round with an impressive 707, lost their respective matches. While Simonelli eventually finished with the men’s compound open bronze, Stretton faltered in the bronze medal play-off.
World Archery praises Organisers
Chairperson of the World Archery Para Committee Carole Hicks was happy to see an increased number of participants at the Fazza event. “Also, it’s great to see that the trend of the event is continued. Every year we have world records here, and this time too we had a world record in the start of the events. And I believe that is the reason we see new participation here.
“I would also like to thank the organisers (Dubai Club for People of Determination) for another successful year and for the way they are promoting Para archery not just in the Emirate but in the world. The volunteers have been amazing as always. I would like thank them for their contribution,” she added.
Over 100 archers from 20 nations took part in the event this year, making it the highest ever participation.