Team USA looked primed for the World Archery Para Championships in August.
In the AAE Arizona Cup last Sunday (12 April), the US swept the podium in the compound men’s open category. London 2012 Paralympic silver medalist Matt Stutzman claimed gold, followed by Andre Shelby and Gabriel Marcozzi winning silver and bronze, respectively.
Japan, Brazil, Canada and Mongolia were just a few of the countries that sent athletes to the AAE Arizona Cup, a Para World Ranking event, held in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
The international participation allowed archers to compete in a high level in preparation for the upcoming World Championships (23-30 August in Donaueschingen, Germany), which is a qualification event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“This event gives the athletes a chance to train against somebody that they don’t normally train against, and to see what the competition out there is really like,” U.S. Paralympic Archery Team head coach Randi Smith said.
Martha Chavez of the US just missed the bronze medal by one point in the compound women’s open category, being ousted by Jane Gogel of Brazil. Canada’s Karen Van Nest took silver, and Japan’s Nako Hirasawa won bronze.
In a Paralympian showdown, Jerry Shields of the US came from behind to win gold versus teammate Chuck Lear in the W1 para category. Newcomer Lia Coryell, competing in a category that now combines men and women, took bronze.
Also winning gold on Sunday was Lee Ford-Faherty, who competed for Team USA at the London 2012 Paralympics and hopes to return for Rio 2016. Her opponent, Oyun Buyanjargal of Mongolia, took silver. The US clinched one more medal in this category, with veteran Kinga Kiss-Johnson winning bronze over Fabiola Dergovics.
Tomohiro Uyeama of Japan was the big winner in the recurve men’s open group, taking gold versus USA’s Michael Lukow. American archer Tim Palumbo won bronze in his matchup against Ariunbold Tserendolgor.
“My goal was to be mentally stronger than last year, and as of right now, that is working,” Palumbo said. “Now it’s on to the next event and hopefully come away better than I did here.”
“Don’t get frustrated if you shoot a little differently, because archery’s supposed to be fun,” Palumbo said when asked his advice for young archers competing with a disability. “It’s a sport for everybody, and it’s a life sport, too.”
For complete results from Sunday’s Para World Ranking Event, visit 2015 AAE Arizona Cup's website.