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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The Youth Olympic Games featured the girls' individual finals today following first round matches yesterday. Team USA's fifteen year old Catalia GNoriega (Chula Vista, California) battled hard through several tough matches to finish in the top eight at the Games.
GNoriega was born stateside, but was raised in Mexico for much of her life. She returned to the United States recently and took up training at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center full-time as part of USA Archery's Resident Athlete Program. A young and tough competitor, GNoriega seeded 14th in qualification out of the 32 girls competing.
In an incredible international event experience, the Youth Olympic Games matches are set up much like the Olympic Games where each match is shot one at a time in a special finals venue. Competing on the big stage in front of a roaring crowd creates a pressure-filled situation most young archers would never otherwise experience.
In GNoriega's first match, she went head to head with No. 19 Bassi of Chile. The match was hard fought - Gnoriega came from behind to bring the match to a 3-3 tie at the half, and with a strong final, fifth set, brought the close match to 5-5 to force a shoot off. GNoriega fired first, drilling a strong 9, which outscored Bassi's 8 and took the win.
This morning, facing India's 3rd seed Himani, GNoriega opened strong. The two archers were closely matched again, going 2-2 and then splitting the next two sets to bring the score to a 4-4 tie. Coming in solid at the close again, GNoriega outshot Himani to take the win and seal a spot in the quarterfinals.
Shooting against Spain's 11th seed Canales, GNoriega struggled a bit early in the match. By the third set, she had found her rhythm and turned on the pressure. Taking the third set and splitting the fourth, the match went 5-3 in Canales' favor. Needing a clean set win to stay in the match, GNoriega opened with a perfect 10 and looked strong, but Canales refused to open the door and closed the match 7-3.
Competition continues tomorrow with the boys' finals where mixed team bronze medalist Trenton Cowles will continue his solid run in Argentina. Complete results from the competition are available at www.worldarchery.org. All matches will be available live at www.olympicchannel.com/live.
Photo: World Archery
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