Selvathamby, Nur Syahidah grab first World Para Archery titles

The 2019 World Archery Para Championships closed on a high note with several Asian stars coming out with strong performances in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. Not just records were broken, but nations got their first-ever winners in a World Championships last week.

Despite strong and seasoned names in the line-up, some newcomers hogged the limelight. Standing right on top among those was Malaysia’s Suresh Selvathamby who claimed the men’s Recurve Open title in his first World Championships.

In a dramatic final, the 25-year-old Selvathamby of Malaysia rallied from 1-3 down to beat USA’s Eric Bennett in five sets.

“I’m so happy. I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless. These are my first championships and I got champion,” Suresh was quoted as saying to World Archery.

The 45-year-old, a former world champion at Donaueschingen 2015, started off well and opened up a 3-1 lead. But that was as far as he would get – as Selvathamby rallied and won three consecutive sets.

The turnaround came in the fourth set when the Malaysian archer bettered his shooting, thanks to his mental strength. His first arrow landed in the seven, followed by a nine and then a 10. He took the lead 5-3 as the American shot 25 to his 26 points.

The Malaysian para archer, who arrived in ’s-Hertogenbosch as world no. 35, finished on 29 points in the final set. “It wasn’t difficult. For me it was easy. I just did my best,” he added.

Even before the final, the men’s recurve open competition had made a lot of noise with Korea’s Kim Min Su breaking the world record with 662 out of a possible 720 points for the 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round. Both he and Iran’s Pouriya Jalalipour, who shot 658, broke Bato Tsydendorzhiev’s previous record of 655 points at these World Archery Para Championships. Kim’s seven-point increase will stand.

Second World title for Chunyan

In the women’s competition, China’s Wu Chunyan regained the recurve title after overcoming Milena Olszewska of Poland in four sets, 6-4, to take the second world title in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Earlier, she she was part of the triumphant China women’s team who won the Recurve Women Open team.

With the title here, the 29-year-old has now collected six gold medals across three world para championships.

 “Four years ago, it came a lot easier; this time it was a little bit more difficult, but I want to practice more to get even better,” said Chunyan, whose only other individual world title came in Donaueschingen in 2015.

Singapore gets 1st World Champion

Earlier, records were broken in the women’s compound open finals, when Nur Syahidah Alim became Singapore’s first-ever world champion archer winning the finals in a shoot-off.

“I’m very happy and very proud that I was able to win that gold medal for my country. It comes as a surprise, as well,” the 33-year-old archer said.

In the final, Alim twice took the lead by one point over her young British opponent and Rio 2016 champion Jessica Stretton but after five ends the pair were tied at 141 points and headed into a shoot-off.

“I think it was a really intense match. I felt a little nervous. But with the help of my coach I stood on the ground and focused on what I had to do,” said Alim.

China takes 3 Team Gold

In team events, the Iranian men’s team comprising Hadi Nori, Alisina Manshaezadeh and Ramezan Biabani went one better than Beijing 2017 and clinched the gold defeating Turkey’s Erdogan Aygan, Bulent Korkmaz and Murat Turan, 222-219, in the compound team final.

The bronze was claimed by China who beat new world record holder Ukraine by 10 points, 220-210. The China men’s side also settled for second place against Turkey in Men’s W1 Team gold medal match, with final scores reading 212-213.

They compensated the misses with world titles in compound women’s open team and compound open mixed team. China women beat Great Britain, 226-224, while the mixed team dispatched Russia, 149-148. They already have had clinched the women’s recurve open team gold over Turkey 6-0.

As many 23 countries grabbed 80 of the 140 quota places available at the championships for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. China took the maximum 11.

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