‘Woah’ moments fuelling Alejandra Valencia’s pursuit of history

Alejandra Valencia made history when she won her third Pan American Games title.


Pan American Games Champion Alejandra Valencia has had a lot of ‘woah’ moments in her career.

It all started at age eight when her sister fell off her bike... The rest is history, literally. 

“Finding archery was a coincidence,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about the sport.”

“I didn’t even know it existed.”

One day, her father took her and her sister to the sports centre in the city. They were riding their bicycles when her sister had an accident.

She began to bleed, and their father just asked for help. The people who helped were the archers who were training around.

“In that moment, I saw the board, I saw the people who were training, I saw everything and I was like ‘Woah, what is that?’"

The archery coach said they trained every evening and if she wanted to try, she could go the next day.

“So I went, and that was how I started.”

Alejandra Valencia

Valencia says that it was in 2008 when she began to take the sport seriously and a year later, she was selected to the Mexico’s junior squad. 

That sparked another ‘woah’ moment as she represented her country aged 14 before achieving senior selection in 2010.

The 29-year-old’s rise to the top has matched the growth of archery in Mexico, although she prefers to see herself as a supporter rather than leading the charge.

Alejandra is also not too concerned with records, even when she is breaking them as she did at the Pan Am Games in Santiago last year.

“Firstly, I didn’t shoot with that in mind,” she explained. “I just wanted to win.”

She remembered that when she exited the final venue, after the gold final, her coach asked her whether she realised what she just did.

“Yeah, I just won,” she replied.

He then told her that she made history, being the first archer to win three different Pan American titles.

“I was like, ‘Woah, woah, wait, wait.’ I really didn’t know that. I was just shooting to win for my personal goals."

“Woah I can’t believe it!”

Alejandra Valencia

The win at the Pan Am Games was just one part of a remarkable year for Valencia that saw her claim gold at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in her hometown of Hermosillo. 

But before that, in August, Valencia claimed her first individual world medal, winning silver in the recurve women’s in Berlin

That second place meant a lot as it was the first individual medal won by a Mexican woman in the world championships.

So there too, she made history, and again she didn’t know and was just trying to win.

“When I got through to the gold final, I was like ‘Yeah, I did it’, because in Yankton, I was in the bronze medal match.”

“So when I got into the gold medal match, I surpassed my last result and I’m always looking for that.”

Because for Valencia, every medal she wins and record she breaks is just motivation to do even more.

“I’m always looking to be better than the last competition. I didn’t win gold but that is motivation.”

"Because in 2021 I was fourth and then in the last one I was second, so I am just climbing and I need to keep working to get gold in the next one.”

She also claimed women’s team bronze in Germany and will head to Paris 2024 hoping to add to her Olympic collection that already includes mixed team bronze from Tokyo.

Mexico already has its full women’s quota for this summer’s Games, and Valencia is expected to lead the line-up for her fourth Olympiad.

The squad is now travelling to the second stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Yecheon this week.