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PHOENIX - The AAE Arizona Cup - a World Ranking Event, Para World Ranking Event and the first national ranking tournament of 2014 - promises Olympic-level archery excitement here in the United States.
Held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, the AAE Arizona Cup kicks off today with a whopping 528 archers competing, shattering last year's record attendance numbers. With 20 countries sending their Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship squads, this event is shaping up to be a sneak peek at the list of Rio 2016 contenders.
Archers will shoot qualification rounds beginning at 7:30 a.m. Friday morning. Recurve men and compound women will shoot 72 arrows in the morning - at distances of 70 meters for recurve shooters and 50 meters for the compound archers - followed by a 72 arrow qualification round for recurve women and compound men in the afternoon. Saturday will see teams from across the world competing in the national team round - giving fans a possible World Cup preview - and
American favorites competing include hometown favorite and Olympic medalist Brady Ellison (Payson, Ariz.); world no. 1 ranked female compound archer Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.); five time Olympian and Jennifer Lawrence's "Hunger Games" archery coach Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, Calif.); and compound archers Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) and Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Mass.), currently ranked 2nd and 3rd in the world, respectively.
There's also heavy participation in the cadet (ages 15-17) and junior (ages 18-20) categories, with many of the world's best youth archers using this event as preparation for the Olympic Trials that will begin next year. Cadet archers who are competing for United States Archery Team (USAT) placement are encouraged to review the USAT Selection Procedures, which state in part that: "If an outdoor Cadet USAT Qualifying Series Event has both a Cadet Ranking Round and a Cadet Elimination Round, the average of the Ranking Round and Elimination Round placement will be used for the Cadet USAT Ranking Points for that event."
Archery fans know this sport is famous for shakeups and surprises, and with wind always a factor in Phoenix, this weekend will likely be no exception. Add some of the world's best archery talent from other countries to the mix, and anything is possible. Look out for strong performances by teams from Mexico, Italy, France, Colombia and Canada - and a large para archery squad from Korea.
Live scores will be online throughout the event at http://www.ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=536, and USA Archery will be carrying live updates and photos on Facebook and Twitter throughout the weekend. Daily wrap-ups and full photo galleries will be posted on http://www.usarchery.org each night.
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