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PILSEN, Czech Republic – Paralympic champion Kevin Mather is now world champion after claiming gold at the World Archery Para Championships on Sunday.
Mather, who won gold at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo two years ago, held his nerve having lost the first set of the recurve men open to defeat Ruslan Tsymbaliuk of Ukraine 6-2.
“It feels pretty amazing right now,” he said just moments after his success in Pilsen. “I’m just blown away.”
Mather lost the opening set to the 34th seed, shooting a 24 to Tsymbaliuk’s 27 but after remedying the problem, he was then able to move up through the gears with scores of 25, 25 and 27.
He said of the first set, “The first end, my right brake wasn’t locked, so when I shot I kinda wheeled around a little bit. And I’m just like, ‘I’m moving more than normal’.”
Despite the loss of the first set and movement issues, Mather was quick to put it behind him to turn the contest around, allowing him to return home a gold medalist and world champion.
“I just stick with my process,” he added. “I have a very specific process that I run that leads to my best shots.
“Sometimes a hiccup happens here and there, and you’ve just got to re-focus on that good shot again. I don’t try to think ‘oh, what happened there?’ and try to solve that problem. I just go right back to what was the best way for me to shoot an arrow right now and that was good enough today.”
As Paralympic and world champion, Mather is clearly a name within archery, a role model and an inspiration, something he is happy to embrace in a sport which has given him so much.
“I hope I can inspire people to shoot archery,” he said. “People with disabilities around the world can see it and see that there’s more they can do with their lives.
“I’ve been involved in several sports and archery has really given me a good place, a home amongst teammates and amongst competitors. Everybody here is a like a big family. I love being a part of this sport; it’s amazing.”