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BEIJING, China - At the World Archery Para Championships today, medal matches featured the U.S. recurve open men's team and Paralympic Champion Jeff Fabry (Leemore, California) going for gold.
The U.S. recurve open men's team of Paralympian Michael Lukow (Salt Lake City, Utah), rookie Kevin Mather (Lakewood, Colorado) in his international debut, and Timothy Palumbo (Williamsville, New York) went head to head with the team from Russia for the World Champion title. Seeded 10th in qualification, they climbed the brackets for a shot at the gold.
They opened strong, and needing only an 8 with their last arrow to take the set, an unfortunate 5 gave Russia the advantage 2-0 as their 54 outscored USA's 52. The second set opened with USA down 6 points after the first three arrows, but they came back stronger but Russia kept the win out of reach, closing the second set 53-47 to bring the score 4-0.
After a few arrows had gotten away from Lukow, he changed bows heading into the third set. Palumbo led and opened with a perfect X, Mather followed with an 8 and then Lukow found his groove with a solid 10. The Russian team's confidence was shaken and the door opened for the U.S. team. After sending 27 more points down range, the U.S. shifted the match 4-2 with a 54-53 edge.
With the pressure high, the U.S. archers seemed to be holding their arrows longer and several shots got away into lower scoring rings. Russia clinched the win and the title with a final 49-41 set win for a 6-2 total score, giving USA the silver.
Later in the afternoon, London 2012 Paralympic Champion Jeff Fabry (Leemore, California) took to the line for the W1 men's individual gold final. Yesterday, after solidifying a spot in the Final, Fabry commented: "It feels great to be heading back to the gold medal match. I've been in a bit of a drought for a while now and it's great to be feeling good. Now I'm going to go cheer on my teammates. We're here as a team and we stay together as a team."
Fabry opened with a 28. His opponent, Omer Asik of Turkey had a 27. Asik, shooting first in the second end, opened with two 7s and Fabry seized the moment of opportunity, increasing his lead an additional two points 53-50. Tides turned in the third end and Asik brought the score to a tied 79-79. Fabry turned to Coach Randi Smith and laughed, unphased.
In the fourth end, Asik took the lead with a 26 to Fabry's 25 to bring the score to 105-104. Determined to take the win, Fabry refused to loose another arrow outside of the gold. Coming down to a line call on the last end to determine if the match was a tie or a win in Fabry's favor, his strong 28 finish put the win out of Asik's reach for a final tally of 132-131.
Fabry had added: "The feeling is electric. Anytime you have a head to head match the body gets all weird and it's just amazing."
National Para Head Coach Randi Smith shared her praise for the team at this World Championship event: "This whole team has done exceptionally well. They've been very supportive of each other and I think that helps get us to the medal rounds. I'm proud of every archer here and of the effort they have put in while they have been here. Ben got the bronze yesterday, we cheered for the recurve team and Jeff today and will be back here supporting the compound team and Andre tomorrow!"
Competition wraps tomorrow as the compound open men's team shoots for bronze and Paralympic Champion Andre Shelby shoots for individual gold. The matches will be available live on The Olympic Channel. Complete results from the competition can be found at www.worldarchery.org. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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