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PARIS, France – In front of a partisan home crowd, and on the site of next year’s Olympic Games, the USA’s Casey Kaufhold struggled to contain her emotions as she toppled home favorite Lisa Barbelin to take gold in the recurve women’s event at the World Cup Stage #4.
The 6-4 win for 19-year-old Kaufhold, after a back-and-forth encounter, triggered tears of joy from the American who – with victory – has also qualified for next month’s World Cup Final in Mexico.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Kaufhold, who through a beaming smile added. “Sorry if I cry a lot. It’s very emotional for me but it was a great day. I’m super happy.”
With the crowd loud and loyal to Barbelin from the start, Kaufhold had to dig deep after posting 25 in the first set to trail 2-0. An eight was marked up to a nine in the second set, as Kaufhold drew level at 2-2.
A 9-10-10 in set three proved too much for Barbelin, as Kaufhold edged ahead 4-2 but roared on by the Paris crowd, the French archer fought back in the fourth set with 29, as this contest ebbed and flowed. Locked at 4-4, Kaufhold came out on top in the fifth, finishing with a 10 to claim gold.
“Wow! That was one of the wildest matches I’ve ever shot in,” Kaufhold continued. “Having Lisa being here in France, shooting for France, the crowd was really loud for her.
“We both put on a good show for everybody. We went 4-4, down to the last set, so it was a great match. It was cool to hear everybody cheer for her and she shot amazing. All the girls shot well today. It was a great day of archery overall.”
Earlier, Kaufhold held her nerve to defeat Choi Misun (KOR) 6-4 in a high-quality semifinal match. The teenager from Pennsylvania led 3-1 and 4-2 but scores were level heading into the fifth set. Kaufhold kept her best till last, firing 30 to Choi’s 28 to ready herself for the decider. Choi later collected bronze.
Kaufhold is no stranger to success in Paris and now has experience on the site for the 2024 Olympic Games. Two weeks on from claiming the USA’s first quota slot for next year’s Games, it is clear this is merely the appetizer for Kaufhold.
She said, “It feels really good to have won a gold medal on this stage here, knowing Olympics will be here next year.
“For some reason Paris has gone well for me every year. The first time I was in Paris we got the spots for the Tokyo Games and then last year I won my first mixed team gold medal, and so now to win it individually it feels really good, so I’m hoping to keep this Paris streak going until next year.”
The Archery World Cup Final will take place in Hermosillo, Mexico from September 9-10. Kaufhold will be joined from the USA by Liko Arreola, James Lutz, Sawyer Sullivan (all compound) and Brady Ellison (recurve).