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PILSEN, Czech Republic – The historic city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic will host the 2023 World Archery Para Championships, which will serve as the first qualifying event for the Paralympic Games in Paris next year.
The 16-strong Team USA is among 55 nations competing in this hugely significant event, with competition running from Tuesday until Sunday, involving almost 300 athletes.
Among the USA’s numbers will be Matt Stutzman, the reigning compound men world champion following his success in Dubai in 2022. The recurve men gold medalist from the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Kevin Mather, is also going for one of the 17 world titles available.
The global Covid pandemic delayed the Paralympic Games by a year, which has made the calendar more congested than normal.
“We got through Tokyo,” Mather said. “And then we went straight into World Champs on the para side, down in Dubai, so we had two back-to-back big years.
“And then here we are. This is a huge year to get our quota slots (for the Paralympics) at World Champs, so this World Champs is the biggest World Champs of the cycle.”
Of all the qualifying events for next year’s Paralympic Games, the World Archery Para Championships is the most significant with 78 of the 140 total spots for Paris 2024 on the line.
Mather added, “For people that don’t follow archery as closely, World Championships are larger events than the Olympic and Paralympic Games because the Olympic and Paralympic Games are limited to athlete count. World Champs is too, but there’s a lot more participants at these competitions.
“Everybody comes to these events because they are vying for those slots to make it to Paris for their country so in the next six months that is going to be the biggest event of my life.”