Chinese DAI Xiaoxiang (main photo) was seemingly unstoppable today. In the recurve men’s final he faced Jeff HENCKELS (LUX), who had defeated him in their only previous encounter in Antalya three years ago. Today DAI left no chance to HENCKELS. He won the first set 28-25, and the second 29-27, to lead 4-0. His opponent recovered two points in the third set, but DAI outscored him 28-26 to win the fourth set and the match 6-2. It is the first major individual title for DAI, who was Olympic bronze medallist in London and World Cup Final runner-up in 2011. The silver medal is the first World Cup medal for 28-year-old HENCKELS.
The bronze medal match was a tough fight between Jean-Charles VALLADONT (FRA) and ZHANG Jianping (CHN). The French archer, who is the field world champion, won the first set 29-26 and led 2-0, but ZHANG came back with 29 points in the second and third sets to take the lead, 4-2. A tie at 23-23 moved the score to 5-3 before the final set. VALLADONT scored 10-10-9 against 9-10-9 to come back to 5-5. Shoot-off! ZHANG shot a 9, followed by a 9 from VALLADONT, but further from the centre. Victory for the 24-year-old ZHANG, who adds a second bronze medal to the hardware he won in Antalya in June.
The women’s final featured Russian Inna STEPANOVA (photo)
and Miranda LEEK (USA). Under strong wind, both archers suffered an unlucky 5, STEPANOVA in the first set and LEEK in the second, for a tie at 2-2. The match turned in the third set, when the archer from Ulan-Ude made the difference with just one point, to take the lead 4-2. After a tie in the fourth set, the score moved to 5-3. A 7 on the final arrow by LEEK opened the door for STEPANOVA, who delivered a winning 9 to take the set 26-24 and the match 7-3. The Russian wins her second World Cup gold medal after her first victory in Shanghai in 2011. Former world N°3 and currently N°14, she should make her return to the top 10 with this result. With silver, the 20-year-old LEEK leaves Colombia with her first individual World Cup medal.
Antalya champion CUI Yuanyuan (CHN) claimed the women’s bronze medal in straight sets against top Colombian archer Ana María RENDON. It is the second individual medal in only two World Cups for the 21-year-old Chinese archer.
The wind was a factor in the mixed team final between the United States and China, pitting the Shanghai winner against the Antalya winner. All athletes on the field were Olympic medallists. Khatuna LORIG and Brady ELLISON, top qualifiers, led halfway through the match. The third end was decisive: a miss by LORIG and increasingly good scores from the Chinese archers DAI Xiaoxiang and XU Jing (photo)
inverted the trend. China took the lead and kept it for a 141-134 gold medal victory, the second of the day for DAI; silver to the United States.
The Indian duo of Deepika KUMARI and Atanu DAS won the bronze medal by a large margin over Mexico, who seemed to struggle with the strong wind throughout the match.
Next and last World Cup stage of the season before the Paris Final: Wroclaw, Poland, 19-25 August.
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