It was a weekend of success for the Archery GB team as the British men claimed the silver medal in the Men’s Recurve Team Final, while team member Patrick Huston also clinched the bronze medal in The Nottingham Building Society Men’s Recurve Final.
This weekend (28-29 May) saw the culmination of the seven-day European Archery Championship, where top archers from across the continent gathered in Nottingham to compete for the title of Europe’s best archer. Hosted by Archery GB, in association with The Nottingham Building Society, this was the first time the UK had hosted the tournament since 1978.
More than four thousand people from across Nottingham and the rest of Europe attended the nail biting head-to-head finals, which took place in a purpose-built archery arena in the heart of the city in Old Market Square. For the excited crowds, the event was one the last chances to see the elite archers demonstrate their expertise before they head off to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Denmark show their skills in strong Saturday competition
The compound archers kicked off the action on Saturday with a day of fierce competition across the Women’s Team, Men’s Team, Mixed Team and Men and Women’s Compound Finals.
The first match of the day saw the three British female compound archers go up against their Dutch counterparts in the Fast Graphics Women’s Compound Team Final bronze medal match. While the team of Andrea Gales, Naomi Jones and Daisy Clark put up a great performance in front of the home crowd, they were denied a medal by a strong Dutch team, with a final score of 217-225 to the Netherlands.
There was incredibly strong shooting throughout the day, including a fantastic run of 12 consecutive tens by the Danish Men’s Compound Team, who were the eventual winners of a tense match with Russia in The Nottingham Building Society Men’s Compound Team Final. The gold medal went down to a shoot-off, which Denmark took advantage of to become European Champions for the first time.
One of the day’s major success stories was Sarah Prieels from Belgium who added to her European Indoor title by claiming the Outdoor gold medal in The Nottingham Building Society Women’s Compound Final. The match saw a spectacular 146-135 victory for Prieels over Russian Alexandra Savenkova. The Russians claimed a second medal in this category as Mariia Vinogradova added a bronze to Savenkova’s silver by defeating French woman Amelie Sancenot.
In the T.R.U. Ball – Axcel Men’s Compound Final, the gold medal went to Stephan Hansen of Denmark, who added to his team gold medal from earlier in the day after he triumphed over Dutchman Peter Elzinga. Meanwhile, Dominique Genet of France clinched the bronze medal after a tough match against Ivan Markes of Croatia.
GB come away with two medals in the Sunday shooting
Sunday saw the European recurve archers take to the stage, many of whom will be competing at the Rio Olympics in August. The archers put on an impressive display with the crowds especially excited by the three finals in which GB archers were shooting.
The first match of the day saw the British recurve women take on Germany in The Nottingham Building Society Women’s Recurve Team Final bronze medal match. The cheering crowds were behind the three British ladies – Naomi Folkard, Amy Oliver and Bryony Pitman – as they took an early lead and won the first set. However, the German women’s precise shooting led to them taking the following three sets and claiming the bronze medal with a score of 6-2.
“The Russians took an early lead, but the British men found their stride to take the next two sets”
The crowd were in full voice by the time the recurve men’s team took to the field for the #EveryRoadToRio Men’s Recurve Team Final. Larry Godfrey, Kieran Slater and Patrick Huston knew that they were guaranteed a medal, but were shooting against a strong Russian team.
The Russians took an early lead, but the British men found their stride to take the next two sets, before the Russians came back to tie the match at 4-4. A tense shoot-off decided the outcome of the match and the medals, where Russia took the gold by the narrowest of margins, leaving the British with well-deserved silver.
The weekend was brought to a close with the individual recurve matches. In the nail biting Easton X10 Women’s Recurve Final, Veronika Marchenko of Ukraine wowed the crowds with her shooting precision, clinching the gold from Russian Tuiana Dashidorzhieva with a final score of 7:1. Bronze was awarded to Lisa Unruh after an inspiring performance from the German against Anastasia Pavlova from the Ukraine.
In the penultimate match of the tournament, Patrick Huston added to his team silver medal, with an individual bronze in The Nottingham Building Society Men’s Recurve Final. Patrick quickly got the crowd behind him and opened with a 9, 10, 10 to take the first set against Frenchman Lucas Daniel. Patrick continued his recent form and won the match with a final score of 6:2. The gold medal match eventually went to Jean-Charles Valladont of France, who beat off fierce competition from 16-year-old Mete Gazoz of Turkey, taking the title in a close match of 6:4.
The two medal wins top off a very successful week for Patrick, who achieved a quota place for the Rio Olympics after competing at the Continental Qualifying Tournament on Friday (27 May), which took place as part of the Championship.
Neil Armitage, CEO of Archery GB, commented: “We are extremely proud to host this year’s European Championship, in association with The Nottingham Building Society. The event has been hugely successful, not only for the archery community but also for Nottingham and the UK as a whole.
‘This is a particularly exciting year for our elite archers, with the Championship taking place on home soil and with the Olympic Games fast approaching, so we are very proud of how well the team have done in achieving two medals today and how hard they have worked throughout the tournament.”
Simon Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at The Nottingham, said: “It has been a great honour for us to be the headline sponsor for such an amazing event.
“Not only has the European Archery Championship been held in the UK for the first time in 38 years, but it has come to Nottingham – our home city – giving thousands of people the chance to witness the finals.
“It is a first-class example of our ongoing commitment to bring top quality sporting events to our communities.”
Images: Dean Alberga