Drahoninsky fires up Czech stands, taking three medals in Pilsen

David Drahoninsky, World Archery Para Championships 2023

China’s Zhang Lu and Christopher Davis from Australia collected the individual W1 titles at the 2023 World Archery Para Championships in Pilsen – as Chinese doubles also clinched both men’s and women’s team crowns. But local fans went crazy for one man – the Czech Republic’s David Drahoninsky, who won three medals and alongside Tereza Brandtlova collected mixed team gold.

“It's the best day of my career,” said Drahoninsky, who also took bronze individually and with Karel Davidek in the doubles event. 

The stands filled up to cheer on the local stars on Sunday morning. 

The Czech pair put the pressure on. They pushed an early advantage – and eventually defeated Italy, 145-133, in front of an exuberant home crowd.

“Right now, I don’t have any words. I would like to cry,” said Brandtlova.

“That was my dream, and this dream came true,” added Drahoninsky. “I would like to thank my partner Tereza that she did so well, and I didn’t mess it up.”

Shooting in front of the filled stands extracted from Tereza and David the highest level. And Drahoninsky, in his signature style, fired up the atmosphere, waving fans to go even louder. 

“I was a little bit worried that the fans would smash the tribune,” he shouted in the post-match interview.

“I hope they would smash it,” replied Brandtlova.

While the judge was confirming the result in the individual bronze medal match, after Zhang Tianxin dropped an eight with his last arrow and measures needed to be confirmed, David emotionally hid his face in his hands. It went his way.

“Archery is archery. Every arrow is the first one,” he said on fighting back to take an individual bronze in Pilsen. 

World Archery Para Championships 2023

Christopher Davis lived an unforgettable moment as he took his first international medal on Sunday (a gold). The Australian mouthtab archer put on a consistent performance, which led to a 131-127 win over Turkey’s Bahattin Hekimoglu.

“It’s hard to explain at the moment. It’s very surreal. It means a lot,” he said. 

The Australian built a five-point lead already in the first end and didn't drop gold until his last arrow.

“It’s like a lot of archers say, stick to your process. If something doesn’t go quite right, just go back and stick to your process all the way through.”

China’s Zhang Lu celebrated twice, capturing gold in the W1 women’s doubles and individual finals.

“It was my first time at the individual match for gold. I’m very excited,” she said. 

The 34-year-old archer didn’t succumb to the pressure shooting for her first international medals. She shot 29 to open the final against Italy‘s Asia Pellizzari and stayed on winning tack to prevail, 132-124.

“I was looking forward to seeing our national flag at the square in Pilsen. It makes me very happy.”

Lu and Chen Minyi embellished their doubles win with a new world record – they shot 144 to beat Italy by 22 points.

Their teammates Han Guifei and Zhang Tianxin contributed to the Chinese oeuvre in Pilsen, winning the men’s doubles event. The duo defeated Turkey, 144-136 – and missed the world record by only two. 

Competition in Pilsen concludes with recurve finals on Sunday afternoon.  

W1 finals: Pilsen 2023