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DONAUESCHINGEN, Germany - Team USA claimed two World Champion team titles this morning at World Archery Para Championships. Both the compound men and W1 men's teams earned incredible victories.
Third time was the charm as the U.S. has taken silver in the W1 men's team event at the last two world championships. "You can't describe the feeling," Paralympic gold medalist Jeff Fabry (Lemoore, California) said. "I am on such an emotional high right now. It's great to win the gold medal alongside these guys and hopefully there are many more to come."
Fabry led an experienced team with Paralympians Jerry Shields (Gainesville, Florida) and Chuck Lear (Lees Summit, Missouri) to defeat the team from Russia in a shoot off, 25-22 after tying with 194s.
Lear missed the target in the second end, but was not shaken - his closing 10 of the match was a major crowd pleaser. "When I missed the shot I knew the guys could pick me up and that's exactly what they did. It's what being on a team is really about," explained Lear.
In the compound men's final, Turkey missed an arrow in the first set and was unable to recover. The U.S. trio Matt Stutzman (Salt Lake City, Utah) Andre Shelby (Jacksonville, Florida) and Ben Thompson (Ladson, South Carolina) shot impressive and consistent scores to take the match by ten points, 224-214.
Stutzman, the famous armless archer, joked afterwards that if he did have arms you would have been able to see them shaking. The adrenaline was flowing, in no small part thanks to the full-strength Team USA contingent supporting from the stands.
"We travel pretty well as a team and hearing everybody cheering us on definitely helped motivate us," said Stutzman. "I really haven't been on a better team. At the end of the day that is why we are here, for Team USA."
Coach Randi Smith was proud of the team's accomplishments at this event: "This is an amazing team - and they've done extremely well. Their hard work has paid off!"
Paralympian Eric Bennett (Surprise, Arizona), Michael Lukow (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Timothy Palumbo (Buffalo, New York) shot for recurve men's open bronze. China took the win in a 6-0 shut out. Fabry also shot earlier in the morning in the mixed team bronze final with teammate Lia Coryell (LaCrosse, Wisconsin) against Russia, who took the match by a solid margin 136-130.
Competition resumes tomorrow with more Team USA chances for medals - Janice Walth (Lodi, California) shoots for VI1 gold, then Bennett gets another shot at a medal: individual gold. Complete schedule and results can be found here. For updates from the field, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Some information attributed to World Archery Communication.
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