Confidence the missing piece – Olaru following Moldova’s maiden gold

Dan Olaru wrote history in April when he won at the international circuit’s season opener.

With the gold medal came three milestones for Moldovan archery – all in one go.

It was the nation’s first Hyundai Archery World Cup podium, also Moldova’s first win, with which he secured himself Moldova’s first-ever spot at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final – which will take place later this year in Hermosillo, Mexico.

“It’s a very nice feeling when you're the first one in the history of Moldavian archery to claim such a title,” said Dan.

Olaru has been shooting on the international circuit for years. He made a sensational Olympic debut at only 15 years of age when he finished ninth at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Dan had debuted on the Hyundai Archery World Cup just a few weeks prior – making his wait for a podium on the tour one of about 11 years.

“Of course, I didn't expect such a good result, but we had a good preparation for the season. I thought I could make it to the top 10,” he said.

Following that impressive performance more than a decade ago in London, Olaru showed more of his potential with each passing season. He made it to his first final four at the stage in Paris in 2022, a best-ever result until this year in Antalya.

Still only 26 years of age, Olaru is finally making a case as one of the world’s very best. He’s up to seventh in the Sanlida World Archery Ranking.

What’s the secret to success after so many years, so many 1000s of arrows in practice and competition?

“It’s a result of hard work, a lot of shooting and gym,” said Dan. “We also had a training camp in Antalya before the World Cup, and it also helped me.”

The Moldovan archer’s focus in singular.

“My day looks simple. I practise twice a day and go to the gym. I spend all my time on training and competitions.”

Prior to his recent success, Olaru’s results card had been somewhat middle-of-the-pack. He had promising qualifying rounds, a few strong matches here and there – but often interspersed with disappointment, moments when he just wasn’t on point. He couldn’t find consistency on the international circuit.

“Probably, what I lacked the most was confidence,” he said. “That resulted in some problems with my technique.”

Confidence was not in short supply in Antalya. He’ll need to tap into reserves for the rest of this long – and important – season.

“My goal is to prepare well for the Hyundai Archery World Championships in Berlin and maybe even try to reach a quota for the Olympics in Paris,” he said.

Olaru skipped the second stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai, instead banking a fourth place at the Veronica’s Cup world ranking event in Slovenia, and he won’t go to Medellin, either. He doesn’t need to – he’s got that ticket to the circuit final in Hermosillo book already. Recharge and reset is the goal – because there are big events to come.