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SA archers shoot their way to bronze medal

Our archers have brought more international honours for South Africa, writes Mark Etheridge.

The marksmen and women were taking part in the Indoor World Championships in Nimes, France, the largest indoor event ever hosted by the World Archery Federation.

Some 479 competitors, including all the world champions, competed for a place in the two senior and two junior categories and the South African Compound Women (CW) team will come home with a bronze medal. And there’s more good news with the possibility of Jeanine van Kradenburg bringing home another bronze in the individual competition.

The SA team ranked fourth with a score of 1735 and this included shooting and impressive 115 10’s out of a possible 180.

This score surprisingly put  them ahead of the Russian Federation, who were widely expected to be ranked in the top three.

The SA team were made up of youngster Danelle Wentzel, Gerda Roux and Van Kradenburg. The trio had qualified to represent their country in France after going through the SA National Archery Association (SANAA) qualification process.

After their ranking round, South Africa came up against the USA but lost this shoot-out 232-229 which took them into the braze match against Italy where they came up tops with a score of 230-225.

Archers shoot from a distance of 18 metres with the aim of hitting the 10-ring which is only about the size of a five-cent coin. The standard of the shooting was very high.  New standards were set at the championships, including almost perfect scores of 299/300 and a new world record.

Later on Sunday, Van Kradenburg has the possibility of bringing home a second bronze medal.  After her qualification round, she made it to the 1/16 where she beat Italy 6-2.

That took her to the 1/8 where she beat Mexico 6-2 and through to the 1/4 where against all odds, beat the Russian World Champion, Albina Loginova 6-5. ┬áShe then moved on to to the semi-finals where she lost against the USA 3-7, taking her to the bronze match. There she’ll will shoot against top ranked Pascale Lebecque of France.

This will be the last international event that South Africa competes in for 2014. This decision was made for two reasons, despite the track record which has seen South Africa bring home medals from virtually every World Ranking event in which it has participated in the past few years.

The first reason is to the lack of funding for the code, and the second being that the federation aims to send a team to every World Cup event in 2015.

Explains federation president, Dr Selwyn Moskovitz: ÔÇ£The high performance programs that we have in place has demonstrated that we are capable of being placed in the top three in the world consistently. ┬áHowever, our world ranking remains low because we have only had sufficient resources to send our athletes at best, twice a year to compete. ┬áThat does not give our athletes an opportunity to come home with the World Cup.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£We have matured to the stage that we are confident that if we were to compete in all four stages of the World Cup, we would be successful, and at the same time, boost our world ranking substantiallyÔÇØ, he continued.

ÔÇ£By sacrificing our international competition activity in 2014, we sow the seeds to accumulate funds to demonstrate our true potential in later years. ┬áAnd if we are successful, we hope to attract sponsors who could allow us to compete internationally in the years to comeÔÇØ.

ÔÇ£Sanaa is most excited about winning the bronze medal as it demonstrates that our selection process and high performance programmes are working and that even when we go against the best in the world, we can performÔÇØ, he concluded.


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