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NOVE MESTO, Czech Republic - World Champion Eric Bennett (Surprise, Arizona) will be on his third U.S. Paralympic Archery Team this summer and is after an individual medal that has thus escaped him. At his last event before the Games in Rio, Bennett is looking stronger than ever with the reigning world champion title, and now he's on track for gold in this weekend's finals.
Bennett qualified 2nd, and had a tough series of matches - this morning he first went head to head with teammate Michael Lukow (Salt Lake City, Utah). The match was close, but Bennett took a narrow win 6-4 to advance. In the 1/8th, Bennett knocked out Korea's Lee Hong Gu 6-2, while USA's Timothy Palumbo (Williamsville, New York) upset 7th seed Tomohiro Ueyama of Japan 6-4. Bennett and Palumbo met in the quarterfinals.
Again, the USA head to head match was tight. Bennett took another narrow win 6-4 over Palumbo to continue to the semifinals. Bennett started the match behind Thailand's Netsiri, but brought the score back to 4-4. He then took the win in the final set 6-4 and will shoot against Russia's Sergey Khutakov this weekend.
The recurve open archers were the last to shoot today. The morning opened with pouring rain, strong winds, and raw temperatures for incredibly rough conditions as USA's compound open and W1 archers took the field.
Lia Coryell (La Crosse, Wisconsin) opened the morning with a 125-115 win over Russia's Krutova. Coryell's 125 was the second highest score shot in the W1 women's bracket all day. Despite strong scores, Coryell was eliminated in the quarterfinal by top seed Frith of Great Britain.
The U.S. W1 men, Chuck Lear (Lees Summit, Missouri) and Jerry Shields (Jacksonville, Florida) were both eliminated in the first round of competition. Shields took on Russia's Meshkov and the match was close - Meshkov took a narrow 125-122 win and ultimately went on to make the bronze final this weekend.
Sam Tucker (Nampa, Idaho) was the sole U.S. compound open woman left in competition this morning after upsetting No. 5 seed Karen Van Nest of Canada 131-125 in early eliminations. She faced Spain's Carmen in her first match today and fell 129-126 in the challenging weather.
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