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DONAUESCHINGEN, Germany - After a winning week at World Archery Para Championships, including two U.S. teams taking gold and seven Paralympic slots, Paralympian Eric Bennett (Surprise, Arizona) and Janice Walth (Lodi, California) earned two more chances to increase the gold count.
Bennett shoots in the recurve men's open division, has just one arm, and rocked the world in an impressive final match. Opening with matching 27s, Bennett, who had been seeded 8th and his opponent, No. 3 from China, split the first set.
From a 1-1 tie, Bennett countered with a 29 and 28, taking two sets in his favor for a 5-1 lead. He dropped the fourth set, but split the fifth again with matching 27s to take a 6-4 win. A close score, but a decisive win for the U.S. archer on the road to Rio.
Walth, who has always been legally blind, was excited for the return of the VI category to the event. With a top qualification score of 362, which was 71 points higher than the second seeded archer, Walth was poised well for the win.
With a bye into the gold medal final, Walth had a long wait between qualification and her first match. She handled the anticipation well, and won the World Champion title in a quick 6-0 shut out. The gold rounded out her World Archery Para Championship award collection to go with her silver finish in 2007 and bronze from 2009.
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