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Team USA's Rodger Willett, Jr. and Brady Ellison have now accomplished an outstanding feat: these two top archers, one compound, one recurve, both won the individual gold medal in their respective categories today. With this achievement, Ellison and Willett become the first athletes ever to win a World Cup stage two times in a row.
The day began with the compound matches; Team USA's Willett took to the field at the finals venue to face Amir Kazempoor (IRI), the 51st ranked archer who fought his way to the final match. Willett, who currently leads the standings for the Longines Prize for Precision, opened up with a 10-10-10 to his opponent's 24 points, and never relinquished his hold on the lead. Though Kazempoor outshot Willett on the fourth end, Willett showed the mettle that kept him strong last month in the Porec final, and clinched the gold, 134-128.
"This match was tight," noted Thomas Aubert, commentator for World Archery. "Rodger Willett's heavy bow might have been an advantage in this strong wind. He was also a little more precise than his opponent."
In Brady Ellison's much anticipated match versus Korea's Jin-Hyek Oh, America's superstar archer took an early lead and remained consistent, increasing his lead from 2-0 to 4-0 despite extremely strong wind conditions. In the pivotal third set, Oh shot 8-7-7, which Ellison answered with a 9-9-9, winning his second World Cup stage in a row with a 6-0 shutout. "Once again Brady shows that he's probably the best archer in the world," commented Aubert at the conclusion of the match.
Dietmar Trillus (CAN) faced Seppie Cilliers (RSA) for the bronze medal in the compound men's category. Cilliers started the match with what was reported to be a technical problem with his release aid, and opened with a 0-6-5; though the South African archer came back, it was not enough to stop Trillus, who shot consistently for the win, 141-104.
For the compound women, reigning World Champion Albina Loginova (RUS) faced Iran's Seyedeh-Vida Halimianavval for the bronze. Extremely strong wind during this match resulted in low scores from both competitors, but it was a give and take until Halimianavval shot a miss in the fourth end, from which she could not recover; Loginova took the match, and the bronze medal, with a 116-108 victory.
In the gold medal match, Parsamehr Mahtab (IRI) and Ivana Buden (CRO) shot for the gold medal. In this match, Mahtab took a two point initial lead, and continued to increase it during subsequent ends, ultimately making it difficult for Buden to come back. Despite the wind, Mahtab shot just three arrows outside of the 8, and achieved the gold medal after shooting the first two arrows of the final end, with a 125-113 win.
The recurve men's bronze medal match was a contest between 2004 Olympic medalist Dmytro Hrachov (UKR) and Dai Ziaoxiang (CHN), a relative newcomer to the World Cup circuit. Xiaoxiang began with a difficult end, shooting a 5 that caused a 24-22 deficit, while Hrachov continued to shoot consistently. However, in the third set, the Chinese archer ran out of time on his second arrow, giving Hrachov two more set points. In the end, a score of 6-2 put Hrachov on the podium with the bronze.
For the recurve women, it was three Korean archers on the podium; in the bronze medal match, Japan's Ren Hayakawa met Gyeonghee Han (KOR), who at 18 years old, won two gold medals in her World Cup debut in Porec last month. In a back-and-forth match between these two strong archers, each showed a solid performance, but Han took the match in the fifth set, winning the bronze medal 6-4.
In the gold medal match, Korean teammates Bo Bae Ki and Dasomi Jung faced off; both archers, as with Han, are relatively new to the World Cup circuit, though Ki is a 2008 World University Games champion and the 3rd place finisher at the World Cup Final last year. Going to five sets, these women had a close contest despite a misses from both archers and low scoring due to the strong wind. "The wind coming in from the sea (was) getting stronger," commented Aubert. "Both Koreans broke an arrow against the cliffs on the fourth end; overall, Jung was stronger and more precise." With a 6-4 win, Jung took to the podium to receive her first-ever gold medal in an international tournament.
On Sunday, the mixed team and team medal matches will be shot, with Team USA competing in the compound mixed team gold medal match, the men's and women's compound gold medal matches, the women's recurve gold medal match, and the men's recurve bronze medal matches. For live results, visit http://www.archery.org; follow USA Archery on Twitter for updates: http://www.twitter.com/usaarchery.
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