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COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California), a five time Olympian, Olympic bronze medalist, and Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence's archery coach had everyone holding their breath at World Archery Championships this morning. In the first match, Lorig and LaNola Pritchard (Lehi, Utah) both had the chance to earn the US a qualifying slot at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio.
Pritchard took the first set 2-0 against Mexico's Olympian Alejandra Valencia, but then fell 6-2 and was eliminated. Lorig started out trailing 2-0 behind Karyna Dziominskaya of Belarus but the two went back and forth on sets to reach a 5-5 tie and go to one arrow shoot off. Keeping cool under pressure with the US Olympic slot on the line, Lorig shot a perfect 10 and clinched the victory.
Lorig then fell to Choi Misun of Korea who will shoot for bronze in the finals. While Lorig secured Team USA a spot in the Olympics, this does not mean the U.S. is out of chances to send a full team. The top three teams at the World Cup in Antalya next June that have not yet qualified a full team will be able to earn their slots then.
On the compound side, Crystal Gauvin (Dayville, Connecticut), an archer who tends to like shooting in windy conditions, shot against reigning Paralympic Champion Danielle Brown of Great Britain and won with a 10-point margin. She then faced Linda Ochoa of Mexico and with the highest score on the field for the 1/8th won to advance to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals Gauvin continued to post high scores. She shot a solid X in a one-arrow shoot off against Toja Cerne of Slovenia to make the cut for semifinals. Shooting against top seed Sara Lopez of Colombia, Gauvin held her own and maintained a tie for several ends before taking the last three arrows by one point. Gauvin will advance to the gold medal final this weekend.
Gauvin commented on social media: "After a less than stellar qualification my bracket was such that I had to face one archery friend after another today in eliminations. Luckily I was able to stay focused on my goal and shoot good shots."
Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) and Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts), both pre-seeded into the 1/16th from high qualification scores, both lost their first matches. Gellenthien shot against Rajat Chauhan of India who posted a near perfect score of 149 over Gellenthien's 145.
Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) easily won his first match in a strong 6-0 shut out and then made it through the 1/8th elimination only dropping 2 points. In the quarterfinal Ellison and opponent Kim Woojin of Korea went back and forth, eventually tied 4-4 before Kim took the final set.
As Lorig qualified the women for an Olympic slot, no U.S. archers need to compete in the Olympic Secondary Tournament Qualification tomorrow. Competition will resume for the U.S. archers Saturday with compound finals where Gauvin will compete for the World Champion title. A live stream of all finals will be available on ArcheryTV. A detailed schedule and complete results are available here. For more updates from the field, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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