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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The Youth Olympic Games, the world's most premier international multisport event for young athletes, features 32 boys and 32 girls from nations around the globe. In a unique mixed team event, archers are mixed by gender and by nation, paired by their rankings in qualification where the top ranked male archer was paired with the bottom ranked female archer, and so on.
Team USA's Trenton Cowles (Tarzana, California), who recently won individual silver and team and mixed team gold as a junior at the Pan American Games earlier this year qualified 15th and was paired with Namibia's Quinn Reddig. The pair seeded 18th as a mixed team duo and worked their way up the brackets.
In an incredible international event experience, the Youth Olympic Games matches are set up much like the Olympic Games where each match is shot one at a time in a special finals venue. Competing on the big stage in front of a roaring crowd creates a pressure-filled situation most young archers would never otherwise experience.
First upsetting the 15th ranked team 6-0, Cowles scored only 10s on the first day of matches to lead the team to victory. They were then paired with the second ranked team of Mexico's Vazquez and Kazakhstan's Mustafin in the 1/8th. In a major upset, Cowles and Reddig took a 6-2 win after an early 4-0 lead. Cowles again scored almost all 10s in a strong match.
Another 6-2 victory in the quarterfinals put Cowles' team in contention for a medal as they moved into the semifinals. Taking on the #11 duo of France's Touraine-helias and Spain's Solera, the two teams split the first set with strong 37s, then went back and forth to bring the match to a 3-3 tie. In the final set, the European duo outscored Cowles and Reddig to take the win in a close match.
Heading into the bronze final, New Zealand's Jones and Chinese Taipei's Tang, ranked 28th, posed a strong threat. Tang was labeled the event favorite to win by World Archery, having upset the senior team from Korea as part of this year's Asian Games. Cowles also had international experience on his side and was unfazed by a 2-0 deficit after the first set. Holding strong, Cowles and Reddig split the second set with their opponents and then turned it on. With Cowles keeping it in the gold, and Reddig scoring only one arrow outside the gold into the first red ring, they clinched the bronze win 5-3 in a stunning victory.
USA's Catalina GNoriega also competed in the mixed team event with Cuba's Hazael Rodriguez for a 7thplace seed. The duo fell 6-0 in a tough first match.
Competition continues next week with individual eliminations Monday through Wednesday with the girls' finals on Tuesday and the boys' finals on Wednesday. Complete results from the competition are available at www.worldarchery.org. All matches will be available live at www.olympicchannel.com/live.
Photo: World Archery
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