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COPENHAGEN, Denmark - In pouring rain, the US men took to the field this morning with high hopes as the first match for the recurve teams meant qualifying for Olympic slots. Zach Garrett commented early in the day: "I trust these guys and they trust me so it's a lot of camaraderie, it's difficult to be less than confident with these guys beside me."
Opening the match with a 56, the men took an early lead over Canada. After the second set where Canada tied the match 2-2, the US archers became unstoppable with back-to-back 57s and the win. This 1/8th match win means that they qualified the U.S. for three slots in Rio!
"World Championships are weird, there's more pressure to win the first match," commented Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) after the 1/8th win. "You see a lot of teams, kind of all of us were a little more nervous this first match than an any other tournament and then the rest of the day you just have Olympic pass and you just want to see what happens."
The recurve women opened their 1/8th match against China with a tied set of 53. China then took a 3-1 lead in the second set shooting just one point higher than the U.S. archers' 52. China then closed the match with a third straight set of 53 and sealed their slots at the 2016 Olympics.
This does not mean that the U.S. will not be able to send women to the Games; there will be an Olympic Secondary Tournament Qualification on Friday where archers will have a chance to qualify individual slots for their countries. Additionally, there will be a special tournament in 2016 where the women will have one last chance to qualify a full team should they finish in the top three there. This is how the US women qualified in 2012.
"This is one step of my plan for Rio," shared National Head Coach KiSik Lee. "As long as we qualify from this World Championship then we have a chance to win [an Olympic team] medal so I'm happy to see what happened today but I'm very sorry for the women's team because we didn't qualify with that high of a rank yesterday so it's very hard to beat the top ranked countries such as China. But still, we have a chance next year - there are three country spots left over and I believe we can get that.
"But the other thing is I really feel sorry for the other strong countries in the world, they should have qualified for the Olympic slots but this system is too much about luck so I hate to see these things but I'm happy for my country."
The level of competition on the field was intense with shoot-offs in four of the recurve men's 1/8th matches, including one between 16th seed Poland and #1 seed Korea and one between #2 seed India and 15th seed Italy. In the women's recurve team bracket Colombia upset 2nd seed Chinese Taipei. See all teams who qualified Olympic slots here.
For the compound women's 1/8th, 5 of the 8 matches were major upsets. The US women survived their first match over Germany but fell to Venezuela in the quarterfinals. 16th seed Ukraine outshot Venezuela in the semis and will shoot for gold, fueling the day's hot hashtag on Twitter: #upsetwatch.
After compound matches through the semifinals, recurve matches resumed. Collin Klimitchek (Victoria, Texas) felt great after qualifying the team: "I know that we are really good right now, we are shooting really well, we communicate well, so just looking forward to see what the rest of the day holds."
They won the quarterfinal in a 6-0 shut out against Australia to face Korea in the semis. Korea opened with a 59 for an early lead, before the U.S. archers tied the second set with 57s. However Korea finished things out with another near impossible to beat 59 to send the U.S. archers to the bronze match in the finals this weekend.
Competition resumes tomorrow morning with individual elimination matches through the 1/24th match. A detailed schedule and complete results are available here. A live stream of the finals will be available on ArcheryTV. For more updates from the field, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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