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July 05, 2011

U.S. Men's Recurve Team Qualifies Fourth at Worlds

Archery fans across America have reason to celebrate today: after two days of qualification rounds, all of the U.S. teams have qualified in the top five at the World Archery Championships in Torino, Italy. Led by number one World Ranked archer Brady Ellison (Payson, AZ), the United States men's recurve team shot their way to a strong fourth place team qualification today, ensuring their spot in the pivotal 1/8 round of team elimination matches on Wednesday. "The team is doing well," noted National Head Coach KiSik Lee earlier today. "The are in good spirits and will continue working hard."


Ellison, joined on the field today by fellow U.S. Olympic Training Center Resident Athletes Joe Fanchin (Oceanside, CA) and Jacob Wukie (Oak Harbor, OH), began the day in the third spot at 90 meters with a 326, behind Great Britain's Laurence Godfrey, who shot a 329, and Korea's Jin Hyek Oh, scoring a 328. Fanchin finished his first distance in the 23rd position, while Wukie ranked 66th for 90 meters. 


The longest distance is considered the most difficult by many experienced archers; though 90 meters, like 70, is shot on a 122 centimeter target, the scoring rings are completely invisible at these longer distances, and the archer is literally shooting almost the length of a football field. As targets moved to 70 meters, Ellison advanced his ranking, ending the distance in second with a strong 342, just one point behind Jayanta Talukdar (IND), who shot a 343. Mauro Nespoli (ITA) scored a 340 for the third position. Fanchin ranked 78th at 70 meters with a 322, while Wukie pulled up significantly, shooting a 333 for 27th. 


Shooting 36 arrows on the individual 80 centimeter faces at 50 meters can prove a challenge to many archers, but at the World Championships, the level of talent is such that scores remain within a point of one another - or even less. As targets moved in, Woojin Kim (KOR), who holds the current World Record for 144 arrows, shot a 344 to end the distance on top, while teammate Im was second at 50 meters with 343, followed by Rick Van Der Ven (NED) with a 342. For the U.S. archers, Ellison ended the distance in fifth with 340, followed by Fanchin in 11th with 337, and Wukie in 54th, with 328. 


At the fourth and final distance of 30 meters, still on the smaller target, Im was able to score a 359, just one point shy of perfect, to lead the category and solidify his number one qualification spot. He was followed at 30m by Chu Sian Cheng (CHN), shooting 359 also, and Oh with a 358. Ellison, was one of four archers to shoot a 358, placing him fourth at this distance and second overall for qualification. Fanchin ended 30 meters in 69th with 348, qualifying 33rd overall, while Wukie, shooting a 347 for 79th at 30 meters, qualified 49th. 


"This is a tough tournament, and the best talent in the world is there," commented five-time Olympian and two time team medalist Butch Johnson. "Our teams are doing very well. Any one of those archers is good enough to compete against any other, and qualifying fourth is something to be very proud of." 


The U.S. men's recurve team will face 13th ranked Poland tomorrow in their critical 1/8 elimination match. The eight teams who win their matches will automatically receive three quota spots for next year's Olympic Games in London. Individually, Ellison will be pre-seeded to the 1/16; Fanchin will start in the 1/48 versus Roman Vengerov (AZE/80th seed), while Wukie will face Aki Virtanen (FIN/64th seed) for his first match. 


According to World Archery, more than 600 archers from close to 90 countries shoot for world titles, medals and Olympic berths at the World Archery Championships this week. For complete results from today's qualification round, visit USA Archery will be tweeting results, quotes and other updates live throughout the week; follow "usaarchery" on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook to join in the excitement of the World Archery Championships! 

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