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London, England - Thanks to a key quarterfinals victory today by Jeff Fabry (Tulare, Calif.) in the compound men's W1 category, Team USA is guaranteed to be shooting in a medal match in the Paralympic Games archery event.
In addition to Fabry's success, Eric Bennett (Surprise, Ariz.) had a strong showing in today's early rounds at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London, clinching a quarterfinals berth.
Earlier this week, Team USA's Jerry Shields (Jacksonville, Fla.) shot against John Cavanagh (GBR) in the 1/8 round. Cavanagh, a hometown favorite, won the match, stopping Shields, 7-1. Fabry avenged his teammate's loss to Cavanagh today in the quarterfinals, giving up only a single tied set to guarantee his position in the semifinals, 7-1.
"[John] gave me a great match as always," Fabry said in a Facebook post after the match. "This is the first time I have defeated him in [Paralympic Games] competition. In Athens and Beijing, he beat me in the semifinals, leaving me chasing the bronze."
In the men's standing recurve group, Bennett made short work of his 1/16th match, edging out Mario Esposito (ITA), 6-2. In the 1/8th, Bennett faced Joel Perrot (FRA), and won the first two sets to take an early 4-0 lead.
The archers tied in the third set and then Perrot won the final two sets to force a shoot-off. Bennett took the shoot-off, hitting a 9 to his opponent's 6. "I guess the shirt is doing its job," Bennett commented in a post to fans, referring to the signed "Team Eric" shirt he wore under his team jersey in competition.
Women's standing recurve competitor Lee Ford (Perry, Ga.) got off to a strong start this morning, putting up a 6-5 win in the 1/16th over Katharina Schett (GER). Ford then faced Huilian Yan (CHI) in the 1/8 round.
After three sets, Ford had a 4-2 lead over Yan; however, in the final two sets Yan was able to outshoot Ford, who tweeted that a camera flash went off while she was shooting. Yan won the final two sets to score a 6-4 win. Despite the tough loss, Ford had an excellent showing in her first Paralympic Games.
"Paralympics 2012 have taught me a lot about myself," she tweeted to fans after her match. "Much reflection and work to come."
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