The scene is set, the archers have arrived, and over the course of the weekend, the fifth FITA World Cup Final tournament, the biggest, most important archery competition ever to be staged in the UK, will take place in the heart of Scotland’s capital city.
East Princes Street Gardens provides a spectacular venue for the biggest World Cup Grand Final yet, with this year’s tournament involving 32 archers, from 16 in the first four years of the championship. This is also the first time the Final has been held over two days.
Tom Dillen, Secretary General of FITA, The International Archery Federation, said: ‘Edinburgh is a perfect partner for World archery, highlighting both the tradition and the modern and dynamic nature of the sport. Princes Street Gardens is the perfect venue, in which to showcase the sport and the city to the rest of the World.
‘I am really looking forward to seeing how the competiton unfolds. We have the best archers in the world here this weekend competing at the highest level. Every one of them had to fight hard to qualify for the World Cup Final and any one of them has a chance to win the Gold medal.’
Recurve archer, Victoriya Koval (UKR), the 2010 European Grand Prix Champion and World Cup stage one (Antalya, TUR) winner, said: ‘Being in Edinburgh has put me in a good mood. All the people who come to visit this great showcase for Archery smile. It is a wonderful and historical place, with great architecture around Princes Street Gardens.’
First up on Saturday is the men’s compound and women’s recurve events, and both will be too close to call.
Three of the four semi-finalsts at last year’s World Cup Final in Copenhagen have made it through again this year, with Italy’s Sergio PAGNI looking forward to defending his title. Pagni, who beat USA’s Braden GELLENTHIEN in last year’s World Cup Final gold medal match, opens against Denmark’s Martin DAMSBO, while Gellenthien gets underway against Britain’s Chris White, a former world field archery champion who was handed a GB wildcard for this event. The host nation is granted one representative in each event, along with an automatic qualifier.
Jorge JIMENEZ of El Salvador was also a semi-finalist at last year’s World Cup Final, and has a great World Cup track record, winning the men’s compound gold medal in Dubai three years ago, when he defeated Gellenthian in the final. He faces another American, Roger WILLETS Junior. Canada’s Dietmer TRULLUS- the gold medal winner in Lausanne two years ago – is the oldest competitor this weekend, at 52. He goes up against the inform New Zealander Shaun TEASDALE, who signaled his intent with a gold medal winning performance at the World Cup Series Stage 4 event in Shanghai earlier this month.
In the women’s recurve event, YUN Ok Hee, and KI Bo Bae will be looking to provide a second successive Korean Grand Final gold medal winner. Ki breezed into the World Cup Final starting line-up in style, winning the gold medal at this year’s World Cup Series Stage 4 event in Shanghai, after she took silver at Stage 3 in Ogden. And Yun also signalled her intent for the Grand Final, with successive bronze medals in the final two tournaments leading to Edinburgh. Justyna MOSPINEK of Poland will also be in Edinburgh – and chasing a second World Cup Final gold medal, after her victory in Lausanne two years ago. First up for her in Edinburgh is the 2007 World Cup Grand Final gold medallist, Dola BANERJEE, one of two Indian archers in this event.
The other Indian finalist is Deepika KUMARI, who is the youngest competitor this weekend – she turned 16 on Thursday! But she will not be overawed, having proved she can cope with the pressure when she took the silver medal at World Cup Stage 4 in Shanghai.
Completing the line up of automatic qualifiers is Victoriya KOVAL of Ukraine, the gold medalist in this year’s World Cup Stage 2 in Antalya, and Alena KUZNIETSOVA of Belarus, who won the silver medal in the Stage 1 event in Porec. The British representative in the women’s recurve World Cup Final is Naomi FOLKARD, who will be shooting for World Cup glory on her 27th birthday! This is Folkard’s first appearance in a World Cup Grand Final, but she is certainly not short of experience at the top level – indeed, this year she was a silver medalist at the World Field Archery Championships._ _The World Cup Final will be completed on Sunday, with the men’s recuve and women’s compound events.
In the men’s recurve, three of this year’s World Cup Series gold medal winners have made it to the Final: Brady ELLISON of the United States, who took gold at Stage 1 in Porec, and the two Koreans: IM Dong Hyun, thanks to his first place finish at Stage 4 in Shanghai, and 18 year old KIM Woojin, who took gold in Ogden (Stage 3). Defending champion Marco GALIAZZO is one of two Italians, along with Michelle FRANGILLI, while India’s Jayanta TALUKDAR, who faces Galiazzo in the quarter-finals, is through to his second World Cup Final thanks to a bronze medal in Shanghai. Woojin is Frangilli’s quarter-final opponent.
Ellison provides the quarter-final opposition for Alan WILLS, the British wildcard entry, while the second GB competitor in this event, Simon TERRY, who qualified in seventh place, faces Im.
For the second year running Nicky HUNT has made it through to the women’s compound event at the World Cup Final. And for the second year running, she has qualified in top place in the overall rankings after four tournaments. And up first is an all-British first round clash against GB wildcard, Andrea GALES.
Hunt reached the final in three of the four World Cup tournaments leading up to Edinburgh, losing to Canada’s Ashley WALLACE in the final in Porec, and Erika ANSCHUTZ of the USA in Antalya, before striking gold with victory over Linda OCHOA in Shanghai. Wallace, a bronze medallist in Antalya, Anschutz, who took the bronze in Shanghai, and Ochoa will all be featuring at Edinburgh. Anschutz and Ochoa are paired in the quarter-final.
Also featuring at the World Cup Final will be Jamie VAN NATTA of the United States, whose best performance this year was a bronze medal in Ogden. She is a vastly experienced archer at the highest level, and this will be her fourth appearance at the World Cup Final – two years ago she won the gold medal, beating Britain’s Nichola Simpson in the final in Lausanne. Wallace is her quarter-final opponent in Edinburgh.
Completing the women’s compound line up in Edinburgh is Sandrine VANDIONANT of France, gold medal winner in Ogden, and the bronze medallist in Porec, and the reigning World Champion, Russia’s Albina LOGINOVA – a quarter-finalist at Porec, Antalya and Ogden during this year’s series.
The event will be free for spectators, with a small charge (£5) for reserved seating in the Grandstand. At the event there will be a series of ‘come and try’ sessions organised by Scottish Archery and Archery GB.
In September the (FITA) Archery World Cup Final will join two other major international sporting events – the 2010 GE Edinburgh ITU Duathlon World Championships and the IFSC World Youth Championships for Climbing – In Edinburgh’s Super September of Sport – and will welcome thousands of competitors and spectators to the city.
For more information go to – http://www.archeryedinburgh.co.uk