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LIMERICK, Ireland – “What’s going on here?” asked one of the five young men as they happened upon fencing surrounding fields at the University of Limerick. “It’s archery,” explained one of his friends.
To be fair, it is not just any archery, rather it is the World Archery Youth Championships, which begin on Tuesday on the outskirts of Ireland’s third largest city.
The USA has a 24-strong squad, competing in recurve and compound, among them World Cup gold medalists and Olympians, highlighting the quality contained within their ranks.
Monday’s practice peeled back the curtain to what likely lays in store for all the young archers over the next six days, with four seasons in one day. There was sunshine, cloud cover, strong winds and lashing rain. According to the forecast, conditions are expected to be even more challenging when competition gets underway on Tuesday with the qualification rounds.
Situated along the River Shannon, the city of Limerick will experience wind, rain and sunshine in the coming days, with temperatures no higher than the mid-60s. Archers have packed accordingly. In other words, for pretty much every eventuality.
‘Trust the process’ has been the mantra delivered by the US hopefuls. After all, conditions will be the same for everyone.
The team members for this event were selected back in mid-April, prior to the Arizona Cup, after which Casey Kaufhold said, ““This will be my fourth World Youth Championship. Each year I feel that I’ve done better. This year is my last year in the age group, so I think this is my year to win it and I’m looking forward to it.”
Kaufhold is joined by Catalina GNoriega and Emma Kim in the recurve U21 women division. All have World Cup experience. Even within the compound U18 women there are archers with sizable experience on the big stage. Last month, Liko Arreola and Olivia Dean – 15 and 16 respectively – represented the USA at World Cup Stage 3 in Colombia. Arreola claimed gold in the individual and team event, for which she was joined by Alexis Ruiz and Dean.
If any added incentive were needed, the action gets going on 4th July, and that has not been lost on any of Team USA.
Compound U18 men’s Landyn Cox said, “I think it’s going to give all us Americans a bit of a kick in the rear to get things going and bring some medals back.”
Cham Chung, competing in the women’s U18 recurve, added “I think starting on Independence Day is significant because I want to show that America has really good shooters. I want to do well, so USA’s on top.”
Latest scores, schedules, brackets and results are available for the World Archery Youth Championships. There will also be daily photo galleries and interviews as we track the talent in the Emerald Isle.