Paralympian Van Nest places fifth at Nove Mesto world ranking event
OTTAWA (Archery Canada) – Karen Van Nest, a multiple Paralympian from South Bruce Peninsula, Ont., posted a solid fifth-place finish in women’s compound open as Canada’s para-archery team made its 2018 international debut at a world ranking event – the second leg of the European Para-Archery Cup – in Nove Mesto nad Metuji, Czech Republic, from July 2 to 7.
Complete Results: Nove Mesto 2018
Van Nest, who originally hails from North Bay, Ont., opened the Nove Mesto tournament with a 675-point effort in the qualification stage, good for the fifth seed heading into the ranking round.
After earning a bye in the round of 32, the 2015 Parapan Am Games silver medallist defeated Ukraine’s Larysa Mikhnieva 139-135 in the round of 16 before dropping a hard-fought 140-142 quarter-final decision against Singapore’s Syahidah Alim Nur, who went on to claim bronze. In the final overall rankings, the Canuck held on to her fifth position based on the highest elimination score in the Final Eight.
Van Nest has represented Canada at the last five Summer Paralympic Games, including three in pistol shooting (2000, 2004, 2008) and the last two in archery.
The lone other Canadian competing in Nove Mesto, fellow Paralympian Kevin Evans, finished 33rd in men’s compound open following a 132-136 loss to Ukraine’s Ivan Dziadyk in the opening ranking round. The native of Calgary, who now resides in Jaffray, B.C., had qualified in 34th place in a field of 52 thanks to a 652-point tally.
A two-time world champion back in 2007 and 2009, Evans wore the Maple Leaf at each of the last three Summer Paralympics and also captured gold at the 2011 Parapan Am Games.
Following their individual events, Van Nest and Evans joined forces for the mixed team event and ended up in ninth position after dropping their opening ranking duel by a 146-150 score against eventual silver medallists Zandra Reppe and Pierre Claesson of Sweden. The Canadian duo had placed 11th in the qualification round with 1,327 points.
Early in 2018, Archery Canada drafted a new strategic direction for its Paralympic program comprised of a short-term plan to reach the podium at the 2020 Tokyo Games, and a longer-term objective focused on building its athlete base through identification and development of a broader group of athletes.
As part of its immediate program for 2018, Archery Canada selected three major events starting with Nove Mesto, followed by the Pan American Championships in Medellin, Colombia (Aug. 14-19) and an international tournament in the United States in September.
“This was a good kickoff to the season. It gave the team an opportunity to test out some new processes and communication,” said project head coach Duncan Crawford, who accompanied Van Nest and Evans in the Czech Republic, along with Archery Canada high performance advisor Alan Brahmst. “We now have some good baselines to work from and will be doing just that in the month leading up to the Pan Am Championships in Colombia. Both Karen and Kevin are great archers, with clear goals and the ability to achieve them. Now we just have to refine our changes and execute when it matters.”