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When the bright sun reflects off water it can be blinding - especially when trying to shoot a bow and arrow at the 2010 World Cup Stage 1 Finals, but not for 2008 U.S. Olympian Brady Ellison (Chula Vista, Calif.) who shoot from the marina of the Adriatic Sea town of Porec, Croatia. Ellison's light reflected gold in men's individual recurve and mixed team recurve classes.
Ellison, a USA Archery resident athlete, was matched against two-time Olympic Medalist and three-time U.S. Olympian Vic Wunderle (Charlotte, N.C.), which was a rematch of the 2010 Arizona Cup final in April. Today's match was nothing like their last meeting where Ellison took the title with a 6-0 decision. The U.S. team members were tied 2-2, after notching 28 and 29 apiece after the first two sets, respectively.
Ellison gained a 4-2 lead in the third set with a 30-26 score. The athletes then tied in the fourth end with 28 points, however Ellison led by a 5-3 set score. In the final end, Ellison shot single-arrow scores of 10, 9, and 10 to claim the title. In the finals, Ellison found the bulls-eye, which is worth 10 points, a total of 10 times.
This was the first FITA (International Archery Federation) event that featured the mixed team competition that consists of one male and one female archer from the same country in their respective recurve or compound disciplines. Team USA recurve athletes Ellison and two-time Olympian Jennifer Nichols (Cheyenne, Wyo.) rose to the challenge in claiming the first gold medal in this new event by defeating China, 141-139. The Ellison-Nichols duo opened with a 35-33 first end and never looked back in this historical event.
Archers compete at four qualifying World Cup stages earning valuable points based on final placement in hopes of earning one of the 32 athlete positions that will compete in the World Cup Finals in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 18-19. The second leg of the World Cup will be hosted in Anatalya, Turkey, and Shanghai, China will play host to the final fourth qualifying stage. Ogden, Utah will host the pivotal third leg of the event, Aug. 3-7.
The U.S. men's compound team, who are also the defending World champions, were challenged by Denmark and won by tiebreaker for the 2010 World Cup Stage 1 title. Denmark opened the first end with a 58-57 lead that was maintained again the second end, 115-114. In the third end, the U.S. squad, comprised of 2009 men's individual compound World champion Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho), 2009 World Cup silver medalist Braden Gellenthien (Woodbridge, Va), and Dave Cousins (Standish, Maine) came from behind to tie the championship at 171 apiece.
In the fourth and final end, Team USA and Denmark shot the same arrow counts to force a sudden death tiebreaker. The Americans shot first and scored three 10 marks, with two of the three finding the X. The Denmark team started the tiebreak with a nine-count, giving the American's the come-from-behind gold medal.
Wilde cruised by Denmark's Martin Damsbo for the bronze medal in men's individual compound with a 6-2 victory. Wilde was perfect in two of the four ends by shooting a maximum 30, and tied Damsbo in the other two ends, which gave Wilde the victory.
The U.S. women's compound team squared off the Russian team for the seventh time since 2006, where Russia has proven to be the leader with five wins. Team USA came out strong in the first end where Erika Anschutz (Hamilton, Ohio), Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) and Diane Watson (Hudson, Fla.) but trailed Russia 56-55. After the second end, Russia jumped to a 112-102 lead that was never regained when Van Natta miss the target, and it was reported as an equipment failure. Team USA had to settle for the silver medal with a 227-213 defeat.
Anschutz had to settle for a fourth-place finish in women's individual compound after losing to Sandrine Vandionant of France in the bronze-medal match, 6-4. Anschutz took the first set and held a 2-0 lead, that was quickly tied in the second end. Vandionant won the third set for a 4-2 advantage, and Anschutz came back to tie the match up again at 4-4. In the fifth and final set, Vandionant pulled away outscoring Anschutz, 29-28, which gave the match and bronze to Vandionant.
The Archery World Cup, which started in 2006, has been a popular event for FITA, the international federation for archery. The event allows organizers to select unique competition venues. In Porec, the athletes shot the final matches over the water in the beautiful marina.
In 2010, the third stage of the 2010 World Cup will be hosted in Ogden, Utah, August 3-7. This leg is being organized by the Easton Sports Development Foundation, USA Archery, Ogden Weber Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Utah Sports Commission.
Team USA will be led by USA Archery National and Head Coach Kisik Lee (San Diego); assistant coach Michael Usherenko (Oakland, N.J.); and team manager Cindy Bevilacqua (West Chester, Pa.).
For results of the 2010 Archery World Cup in Porec, Croatia, click here.
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