Lessons learned and experience gained at Pan Am Games for Canadian Archers
Santiago, CHI (November 5, 2023) – The 2023 Pan American Games wrapped up on Sunday in Santiago, Chile with Canadian archers gaining valuable experience as they look towards qualifying and then competing at the Olympic Games in Paris next summer.
Eric Peters of Ottawa, ON earned a direct qualification to the men’s individual recurve event after winning a silver medal at the 2023 World Championships in August and felt high expectations for him to come away from these Games with more hardware. He advanced to the 1/8 round, but ultimately lost to Jean Santiesteban of Cuba 2-6.
“I felt sort of relaxed and really comfortable coming in here, but this tournament was a first for me in an expectations sort of way. It’s a new experience being in that position as compared to being sort of an underdog, so I don’t think I was as prepared for that as I thought I might have been,” said Peters who was a bronze medallist in the individual competition at the 2019 Pan American Games. “I’m coming away from here not upset, but a little bit disappointed. I’d say this was the best qualifying I had all year, I feel like I shot it fairly well, so that’s probably the highlight – just learning to seed myself better than I had in the past.”
Four-time Olympian and the reigning Pan American Games champion in men’s recurve, Crispin Duenas of Scarborough, ON also advanced to the 1/8 round after defeating his teammate Brandon Xuereb of Toronto, ON 6-2 in the 1/16 round, but was ultimately defeated by Carlos Rojas of Mexico 0-6.
At the 2019 Pan American Games, the men’s recurve team came home with a gold medal, so this Games’ team of Peters, Duenas, and Xuereb knew there were high expectations for them to repeat. Coming out of the ranking round they were in fifth, and in the quarterfinals went up against a tough team from Brazil who ended up taking the win 5-1, ending their team competition. The Brazilian team ended up capturing the bronze medal, while the USA took gold, and Mexico silver.
In women’s individual recurve, Virginie Chénier of Laval, QC, had her top qualification result at an international event as she moved on as the top ranked Canadian in seventh, followed by Stephanie Barrett of Newmarket, ON in 14th, and Pan Am Games rookie Amelia Gagne of Peterborough, ON in 27th.
Chénier would go on to advance to the quarterfinals after prevailing over hometown favourite Javiera Andrades of Chile in the round of 1/8 in a one-arrow shoot-off. She was ultimately eliminated 2-6 in the quarterfinals by Casey Kaufhold of the USA who went on to win the bronze medal.
“I think the competition went well. My objective was top eight, so that was reached, but once I made it through to the top eight, obviously I wanted to go further,” said Chénier who also competed for Canada at the 2015 and 2019 Pan Am Games. “I’m a little disappointed with the loss in the quarters, but also I was shooting against Casey, so I know it takes a really good shooting to beat her. I think I handled my nerves better than last time, so there was progress with that too.”
Barrett advanced to the 1/8 round but was eliminated by Angela Ruiz of Mexico 2-6, while Gagne was eliminated in the 1/16 round after a tough draw saw her face the eventual silver medallist – Ana Machado of Brazil, who took the win 6-0.
The women’s team of Chénier, Barrett, and Gagne came out of the ranking rounds in fifth, and faced Brazil in the quarterfinals where they were defeated 5-1.
Peters and Chénier combined forces in the mixed recurve team event. They defeated Puerto Rico 6-0 in the 1/8 round, but unfortunately lost out to the team from Colombia in the quarterfinals 2-6.
“We had a couple of meetings prior to this event, so we had a plan, and I think that went well,” said Chénier who also competed with Peters at the World Championships in August. “Unfortunately, Colombia was a bit too strong for us, but as a team I think we did well. I could rely on him to shoot good arrows.”
The United States won the gold medal in mixed team recurve with Brazil taking the silver, and Mexico the bronze.
In men’s compound, Canada was represented by Andrew Fagan of Baltimore, ON and Tristan Moran of Prince Albert, SK – both Pan Am Games rookies. Fagan was the top ranked Canadian in 10th following the ranking round, with Moran 16th – both were eliminated in the 1/8 round. Fagan by Sebastian Arenas of Colombia 143 to 145, and Moran by Kris Schaff of the USA 148 to 149.
In the men’s team compound event, they faced the eventual gold medallists from El Salvador in the quarterfinals and lost 153 to 158.
“All of our athletes performed really well and can hold their heads high,” said compound team coach Duncan Crawford. “We had a couple of tough losses in an incredibly competitive field, but that reminds us of the work that needs to be done to be successful at competitions of this level – there’s no room for even a single weak shot.”
The road to Paris is still very much alive for Canada with Peters having already secured one men’s individual recurve spot for Canada with his result at the World Championships, and many more opportunities to secure spots at the Pan American Championships set to take place in April next year.
For full results from the Pan Am Games, please visit: https://results-santiago2023.org/#/discipline/ARC/schedule/daily