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SANTIAGO, Chile – After being left off the schedule for Lima in 2019, archery will mark its return to the Para Pan American Games starting with official practice in the Chilean capital on Saturday, and the USA is back in town seeking medals and quota slots.
The Para Pan Am Games comes two weeks after the Pan Am Games concluded, from which the USA returned with a record-breaking 10 medals.
Competition begins on Sunday with qualification rounds and concludes on Wednesday afternoon with the recurve open medal matches.
In between, there is individual compound open and W1 open, plus team rounds. On offer, aside from podium places and medals, are quota slots for next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris.
To date, three quota slots have been earned by the USA, with all claimed during the World Archery Para Championships in Pilsen, Czech Republic in July. They include one in recurve open men and two in compound open men. Each country can win a maximum of two quota places in each category for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
Over the next few days, the USA can earn a maximum of one recurve open men, one W1 men, one W1 women, two compound women and two recurve women spots.
Candice Caesar and Allison Brown lead the line in the recurve open women, with Wendy Gardner and Teresa Wallace – a gold medalist at the 2018 Pan American Outdoor Championships – competing in the compound open women. Tracy Otto is the sole representative for the USA in the W1 open women.
“The biggest thing is we want to make everybody proud,” stressed Otto. “I’m going there to shoot my best and enjoy my time; that’s the biggest thing, right? We want to bring home medals but we also want to have fun and enjoy our time.”
There are also a number of vastly experienced archers on the men’s side, including Eric Bennett in the recurve open, Jason Tabansky and Lucas Herro in W1 open, and KJ Polish in the compound open. Polish has been in the form of his life this year, winning every single USAT event (Arizona Cup, Gator Cup, SoCal Showdown and Buckeye Classic).
He said, “The biggest thing for me (this year) has been a lot of dedication with extensive practicing, even on the days I didn’t feel good.
“I’m shooting better now than I ever shot in my life. I’m really prepared. I’m excited. I’m going to Chile and my goal is to win.”
The 2024 Paralympic Games Athlete Selection Procedures explain in detail the rounds that will be competed in each stage of the U.S. Team trials and how cumulative points will be awarded. USA Archery has also announced its 2024 Paralympic Games Staff Selection Procedures.
As with the Olympic Games qualification process, archers do not qualify for the Paralympics directly but must win quota places for their country.
There will be nine events at next year’s Paralympic Games. Unlike the Olympic Games, where only recurve is present, the Paralympics includes compound also.