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PILSEN, Czech Republic – Paralympic champion Kevin Mather will compete for gold on Sunday at the World Archery Para Championships after battling through in the recurve men open on Thursday.
The 40-year-old from Lakewood, CO, will take on Ruslan Tsymbaliuk for the world title having earlier ended the hopes of teammate Michael Lukow in the 1/24 round.
Mather breezed past Roberto Airoldi (ITA) 6-0 in the next round, before things got a little tougher. A strong showing in the fifth set saw him overcome another Italian archer in Stefano Travisani in the next round. China’s Jun Gan, the fifth seed, was next to fall and it was again locked at 4-4 until the fifth set, with Mather again prevailing 6-4.
Things got even tighter in the semifinals, with a one arrow shootoff needed to catapult Mather into the gold medal match. Mather bagged a nine, with Mohammed Reza Arab Ameri (IRI) only managing a seven, sending the USA man through to Sunday’s final.
Earlier, Eric Bennett fought from 4-0 down to 4-4, only to lose 6-4 to Setiawan Setiawan (INA).
Elsewhere on Thursday and Kevin Polish placed fifth in the compound men open as the World Archery Para Championships moved through eliminations on day three.
The sixth seed eased through his first two matches, defeating Garry Robinson (AUS) 147-140 and then Marcel Pavlik (SVK) 146-136, only to then lose out to Matteo Bonacina (ITA) 139-137 at the quarterfinals stage.
Bonacina will contest the gold medal match on Saturday after beating Piotr Van Montague (BEL) in the semifinals. Van Montague ended Matt Stutzman’s defense of the world title he won in Dubai last year with a 146-143 win in the last 16.
The third of Team USA’s compound men, Andre Shelby, was knocked out one round earlier. Having beaten Mark De Gier (NED) 143-141 in the 1/24 round, Shelby then succumbed to Hadi Nori (IRI).
In the recurve women open, both Karen Sternfeld and Candice Caesar went out at the 1/16 round. Sternfeld, who came through a round of 24 contest on Tuesday to beat Azada Abdullayeva (AZE) 6-2, lost out to top seed Elisabetta Mijno (ITA). Caesar was beaten by fifth seed Yang Wu (CHN).
Jason Tabansky, in the men W1 open, was narrowly defeated 139-137 by Italy’s Paolo Tonon in the last 16 of the competition.