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Canada unable to build on strong start at World Archery Para Championships

June 17, 2019
Canada unable to build on strong start at World Archery Para Championships

The Canadian contingent couldn’t build on a promising start at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships, which concluded on Sunday in s’-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, leaving the team short of its main goal of securing Paralympic quota places a year out of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Results (2019 World Archery Para Championships): Results

Canada was represented at the Para Worlds by five compound archers, including Paralympian Karen Van Nest of South Bruce Peninsula, Ont., and Shelby Smith of Lethbridge, Alta., in women’s competition, as well as Paralympian Kevin Evans of Jaffray, B.C., Kyle Tremblay of Deep River, Ont., and Rhys Leidal of Cranbrook, B.C., on the men’s side.

Smith and Leidal were both making their world championship debuts in s’-Hertogenbosch.

All five won their first individual ranking match before falling in the second round. It was more of the same for Canada in the men’s (Evans-Tremblay-Leidal) and mixed (Van Nest-Tremblay) team events.

“We got off to a solid start on all fronts with every individual and team winning their first match. That being said, the depth of the field was incredible and there was no room for errors,” said Archery Canada Paralympic Team head coach Duncan Crawford. “Unfortunately, we didn’t meet our goal of securing Paralympic quota spots at this tournament. We now have to get reorganized and prepare for the Continental Qualifier in Mexico, in May of 2020.”

In order to obtain quota spots for their country in s’-Hertogenbosch, competitors had to place in the top 20 in compound men open, the top 8 in compound women open and the top 4 in compound mixed team open. For any nations that exceeded the maximum quota spots attainable in the individual and team rounds combined, their surplus spots were up for grabs in a secondary qualifying event. Unfortunately, Canada just missed the cut to participate in that tournament.

Eleven months from now in Mexico, the top two men and women in individual events will merit quotas.

“Our rookies performed well. Rhys Leidal and Shelby Smith both shot at or above their average and had solid first matches. Less than anticipated results from our veterans were unfortunate and we know as a team that we all have to simply perform better at top-level events,” added Crawford, who was accompanied at the championships by Archery Canada Para coordinator Ryan Van Berkel. “We now have a year to put our new plan into action. We will next compete at the national championships in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in August.”

“The final result didn’t add up to a finish that I, as an athlete, strive for, and it’s disappointing to miss the performance objective at a high-profile event such as the world championships,” said Tremblay. “Despite the result, I gained a great deal of knowledge and experience. I’m updating my training plan and have a new respect for the level of commitment it will take to be successful at future top-tier events.”

In individual women’s action, Van Nest and Smith tied for 17th position in a field of 50 competitors after placing 20th (667 score) and 31st (644), respectively, in the qualifying round.

Van Nest went on to defeat Lenka Kuncova of the Czech Republic 140-137 in the opening ranking round before dropping a 138-139 decision to 13th-seeded Öznur Cüre of Turkey, while Smith edged Germany’s Hahn Selina 134-132 before losing 129-143 to second-seeded Jodie Grinham of Great Britain.

On the men’s side, in a field of 79, Tremblay (662), Leidal (660) and Evans (645) were 50th, 55th and 69th, respectively, after the qualifying phase and all finished in a tie for 33rd place.

Tremblay won his opening ranking match 140-133 against Japan’s Otsuka Tadatsugu and then fell to 15th-seeded Shyam Sundar Swami of India by a 140-145 score; Leidal defeated Albania’s Kelmend Cekaj 138-131 before losing 134-148 to 10th-seeded Rakesh Kumar of India; Evans beat Malaysia’s Ramdi Rahimin 142-137 and lost 135-140 against 21st-seeded Ramezan Biabani of Iran.

Meanwhile, both the men’s and mixed teams ended up in ninth position.

Seeded 17th after the qualifying stage (1967 score), the Canadian men dominated Japan 218-206 but couldn’t match top-seeded USA in the second round, falling 222-231.

In mixed action, Canada qualified 14th out of 25 teams (1329 score), edged Sweden in a first-round shoot-off (145-145 / 19-17) and then lost 148-157 to third-seeded Great Britain.