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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Qualification kicked off today for the World Archery Para Championships - U.S. Team Trials. Competitors in six divisions competed in 144 arrows of qualification today, followed by round robin matches tomorrow for the top eight compound and recurve men. Archers must qualify in the top three of their division and meet a minimum qualifying score to be eligible for the U.S. Team for the Para Championships set to take place in Beijing, China on September 12-17th.
Benjamin Thompson (Ladsden, South Carolina) led the most competitive bracket on the field today - the compound open men. "Between the heat and the wind, it was a tough day," shared Thompson. "I opened the second half with an arrow in the blue ring, which you never want to see, but I was able to calm myself down and finish strong."
Thompson and Paralympic Champion Andre Shelby (Jacksonville, Florida), who ranked second in today's scores, are two thirds of the defending World Champion team from 2015 and Thompson is eager to repeat the big win: "It would mean a lot to make the team again, I would really like to go back. Andre and I have a gold to defend and I'd like to defend it."
Finishing as the top three for the W1 men are also defending World Champions Jeff Fabry (Leemore, California), Jerry Shields (Jacksonville, Florida) and Chuck Lear (Lees Summit, Missouri). Shields, along with Shelby, was one of two of today's top qualifiers on the field from Jacksonville, Florida; he shared that success doesn't come from something in the water, but: "It's in the oranges." Lia Coryell (LaCrosse, Wisconsin) took the top qualifying spot for the W1 women and sealed her spot on the team as well.
Tink Wallace (North Charleston, South Carolina) and Martha Chavez (Leemore, California) were incredibly close throughout the day as the top two compound women. Two points apart at the half, and again at the end, Tink took the top spot, but both women will earn a place on the U.S. Team for China. "We had a few bad ends; the wind changed a lot and as soon as you figured it out, it would change again, but it was good, everyone was hard working and we had a good field. I love going with the team, visiting a different country, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes for us in Beijing."
Local archer and Paralympian Michael Lukow (Salt Lake City, Utah) led the recurve men's competition today. Lukow, who is part of the Army's World Class Athlete Program, was pleased to have had a good day of competition while representing the Army. "It's my job to make this team and I need to accomplish the mission. I like any day I get to stay in the Army, I always have. It means quite a bit to me to have this opportunity."
Competition resumes tomorrow for the recurve open and compound open men's divisions with round robin matchesComplete results from today are available here. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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