Turkey’s Yagmur Sengul stunned Iran’s back-to-back Paralympic champion Zahra Nemati to highlight the 7th Fazza Para Archery World Ranking Tournament in Dubai, UAE.
Around 70 athletes from 11 countries took advantage of the first international Para archery competition in a year, and 27-year-old Sengul’s defeat of Para archery’s highest profiled athlete reinforced the women’s recurve open event is anyone’s game. Sengul (22, 22, 24, 24) was strong in the final for the 6-2 victory over Nemati (23, 16, 22, 23) to earn her first career podium finish.
“Today wasn’t a very good day,” Nemati said. “I had a bad shot and lost my focus later in the competition. Overall, it was a good competition and good preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This event was part of my training programme which helped me analyse my game,” said the Iranian, who was recently shortlisted for International Paralympic Committee’s 2021 International Women’s Day Recognition in the Next Generation category.
INDIAN COMPOUND ARCHERS STAND OUT
India lit up the event with four medals including a gold in men’s compound open.
In an all-Indian final, Rakesh Kumar (29-28-30-28-28) stayed ahead right from the first end against Shyam Sundar Swami (26-26-28-28-27) and maintained the momentum until the end winning by 143-135.
“I have been working on the mental aspect lately in my training and this had helped me in the final here,” Kumar said. “The condition was windy so getting this score in this condition is okay. Overall, it was a good experience to be in the shooting line after a long time.”
Silver medallist Swami added: "Now we go back and train to shoot in windy condition. Our preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games continues.”
Slovakia’s former world no. 1 and last year’s men’s open compound winner Marcel Pavlik of Slovakia managed bonze with a 141-138 win over Turkey’s Erdogan Aygan.
Meanwhile, India’s 2018 Asian Para Games champion Harvinder Singh compensated his poor show in the individual recurve open with gold in the mixed team event with Pooja. The pair defeated Turkey’s Merve Nur Eroglu and Sadik Savas narrowly 5-4 in the final.
“For me personally, it was getting an opportunity to get my old rhythm back,” Singh said. “I had the same feeling which I had during my gold medal match at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games. It was a good learning experience here.”
In the medal standings, Turkey finished on top with eight (three golds, two silvers and two bronze), ahead of Russia who had four medals including three golds. India followed with five.
Turkish Para archers especially owned the combined W1 events with their reigning world champion and current No.1 Bahattin Hekimoglu, Yigit Caner Aydin, current world no. 3, and Nihat Turkmenoglu sweeping the podium.
Hekimoglu prevailed over compatriot Aydin 134-131 in the combined W1 gold medal match, while Turkmenoglu beat Bogdan Raicu 132-113 for the bronze.
“The team work really hard and know what they want to achieve. Our focus is clear. We now want to continue this momentum at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,” said 28-year-old Aydin, who will seek a quota at the last qualifying event in the Czech Republic.
Russia’s Stepanida Artakhinova, who has already secured a quota for Russia, clinched a pair of golds in the women’s compound open and mixed team events. She combined with Nail Gatin to beat India’s Baliyan and Shyam Sundar Swami 158-155, before she overcame India’s Jyoti Baliyan by two points 130-128 in the individual final.
“I want to repeat this performance in Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. And I am working very hard for this,” said Artakhinova.