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Ogden, Utah - A sixteen-member United States team, including many of the top ranked archers in the world, has arrived at Weber State University to begin official practice at the Ogden Archery World Cup, the third stage in World Archery's World Cup series. Over two hundred achers from thirty six countries have gathered in Utah to compete for world rankings, World Cup standings and berths to the World Cup Final in Istanbul, Turkey later this year. The event opened with official practice today, followed by qualification rounds, individual and team eliminations, and finals throughout the week. The finals, taking place Saturday night, will be broadcast live online on ESPN3.
American archers to watch this week include Brady Ellison (USA/AZ), the number one world ranked archer who returns to seek an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup Stage win, along with teammate Rodger Willett, Jr. (USA/VA), also ranked number one in the world, who will also seek another gold medal win at this stage. At Stage II in Antalya, Turkey, Ellison and Willett became the first two athletes ever to achieve two consecutive wins. Additionally, Ellison, Willett, the men's compound team and the women's compound team will all be looking to retain their top world ranking positions, while the U.S. men's and women's recurve teams will seek to increase their standings.
Also defending her number one world ranking will be Erika Anschutz (USA/TX), who has risen to the top spot thanks to top-level shooting throughout the first half of the year. Anschutz will face tough competition from teammates Christie Colin (USA/PA), winner of last week's Hoyt World Open; newly crowned U.S. National Target Champion Jamie Van Natta (USA/OH); and World Cup medalist Diane Watson (USA/FL), as well as pressure from international competitors Albina Loginova (RUS) and Parsamehr Mahtab (IRI). "I'm glad to have the World Cup in the U.S.," said Anschutz. "I like it better than going overseas, it's easier." When asked what her goal was for the week, her answer was brief and to the point: "To shoot good shots."
For the compound men, it will be a tough battle between number one world ranked WIllett, and teammates Braden Gellenthien (USA/VA), Reo Wilde (USA/ID) and Logan Wilde (USA/UT) for berths to the finals; they will also need to contend with competitors Jorge Jimenez (ESA), recent Hoyt World Open silver medalist Dietmar Trillus (CAN) and Sergio Pagni (ITA), who also occupy top spots in the World Ranking. On the team side, the U.S. compound men are ranked first, and must defend their position, as they will face tough competition from Iran, Canada and Denmark.
Watching the recurve women, the story is in the synergy between U.S. teammates Khatuna Lorig (USA/CA), Miranda Leek (USA/IA) and Jennifer Nichols (USA/TX), who shot their way to the gold medal match against Korea at the last World Cup stage, surprising the archery world. With the addition of Leek, nicknamed the "archery thunderbolt" by sportswriter Alan Abrahamson, this U.S. women's team has been called one of the strongest recurve teams the country has ever fielded. This week, teams from China, India and Great Britain will challenge the U.S. women; individually, Denisse Van Lamoen (CHI), the reigning World Champion, will also be a top archer to watch, as will Deepika Kumari (IND), Natalya Valeeva (ITA) and Berengere Schuh (FRA).
When asked how she was feeling about her shooting, Leek indicated archery is still fun and enjoyable for her despite the rigorous practice and competition schedule maintained by the recent high school graduate. "It (archery) is a lot of hard work, but it pays off, and that makes it fun," explained Leek. In talking about her focus for this week's World Cup event, Leek commented: "For me, it's purely a mental goal this time, just to stick to my routine and have confidence in my shot."
The recurve men's side will be an interesting field of play, with top ranked archers such as Great Britain's Laurence Godfrey, Viktor Ruban (UKR), Simon Terry (GBR), and Jayanta Talukdar (IND) all in the hunt for spots in the finals. They will need to shoot their way past Team USA's Ellison and Jake Kaminski (USA/NY) first, and though Ellison has already punched his ticket to the World Cup Final in Istanbul, Turkey later this year, the other archers must still qualify if they want to take part in the grand finale of the 2011 World Cup Series.
USA Archery will be reporting live from the event all week, with updates posted to Twitter and photo albums posted to Facebook. The U.S. team is supported by a full staff at this event, including National Head Coach KiSik Lee, Coaches Mel Nichols and Doug Ludwig, and Team Leader Cindy Bevilacqua. USA Archery thanks the Easton Foundations and the U.S. Olympic Committee for their support of the compound and recurve teams at this event. For live scoring, visit http://www.archery.org; for complete information on this event, visit http://www.ogdenwc.com.
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