Meet the team: Argentina’s youth squad

Four out of the seven young Argentinian archers in Yankton for the 2015 World Archery Youth Championships arrived wearing their national team jerseys for the first time at an international event.

Xiomara Pena, Melissa Regnasco and Francisco Rodriguez did compete at tournaments around Latin America and at the 2013 World Youth Championships in Wuxi, where Francisco finished sixth and Melissa ninth.

Francisco also shot at the Youth Olympic Games at Nanjing.

With an infectious spark and a clearly excellent team relationship, they support each other in competition and are often seen joking around to cheer one another up when the results don’t go their own way.

This youth team is part of a new archery generation that is trying to make the sport bigger in Argentina.

They entered Yankton to gain experience, to meet more youth archers and to understand what it is to represent their country abroad.

We caught up all the team – Jano Acosta, Leonel Aranda, Damian Jajarabilla, Xiomara, Melissa, Francisco and Tomas Tisocco – after the first rounds of the head-to-head elimination matches in Yankton.

Read on and meet the team…

Why do you like archery?

Leonel Aranda: “I like archery because it is a calm sport. I travel, meet good people from around the world and I get the chance to share the experience with my teammates.

“There’s a good relationship between us all.”

Tomas Tisocco: “It is hard to explain but I like archery because when I take my bow to shoot I feel a sensation unlike anything else in the world. It is something that makes me feel happy.

“Archery has good and bad moments as everything in life but they are mostly good.”

Xiomara Pena: “I like archery because it always give you the opportunity to improve. It is a motivation to be better a person – and an archer, of course – every day. I just love shooting.”

When did you start shooting, and why?

Francisco Rodriguez: “I started shooting when I was a 10-year-old because a friend of my mum told her about the sport. I have always like everything related to the medieval age, so I thought it was cool to get involved with archery. I tried it and here I am!”

Melissa Regnasco: “I started shooting when I 10, too. I was on holidays with my family and at the place they had a try archery area.”

“My brother loved it but I hated the sport. Then he started to practise with my dad and they persuaded me to join them. I accepted the challenge and started with recurve. But my dad was compound and I loved his bow, so I switched to compound archery and took his equipment!”

What can you tell us about archery in Argentina?

Francisco Rodriguez: “Archery in Argentina is on the rise at the moment. Is growing due to all the international tournaments and some others that we have had the chance to organise. Personally, I think is evolving and all the time we as archers are getting better.”

Are you excited to have the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires?

Tomas Tisocco: “To have the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina is awesome and exciting. Not only for archery but for all sports. I think it is something that will help archery to grow in our country.”

How much time do you spend training?

Damian Jajarabilla: “I dedicate a lot of time to training. I try to shoot five days a week but I try to spend time doing other types of training like going to the gym so I don’t overshoot.”

Who is your favourite archer?

Francisco Rodriguez: “My favourite archer is Brady Ellison from the USA. I have always liked his technique and attitude on the shooting line, so I have been following him for a while now.”

Xiomara Pena: “Mine is Aida Roman from Mexico because I love her technique and the way she develops through the competition. Also, because of all she has achieved.”

What is your favourite sport apart from archery, and why?

Leonel Aranda: “Apart from archery, my favourite sport is swimming. I have practised it since I was young, but as I’m always training my archery I do not have time to swim. I also like basketball.”

Jano Acosta: “My favourite sport is football. I’m a huge fan of Boca Junior and try to get involved with it.”

What do you do in your free time when you are not shooting?

Melissa Regnasco: “When I’m not shooting, I go to spend time at university and I cook. I like cooking.”

Xiomara Pena: “I’m at the gym, studying or spending time with my friends.”

What is it like to travel the world doing what you love?

Francisco Rodriguez: “Having the chance to travel around the world, doing what I love, is a great opportunity to open my mind, know things about life, see different places and meet interesting people. I think is important to do it. Everybody should be able to travel.”

Tomas Tisocco: “To represent Argentina at international events is the best opportunity I have to learn more about archery. It is great to meet new places, people and cultures.”

Define this world youth championships in one word.

Melissa Regnasco: “Learning.”

Francisco Rodriguez: “Experience.”

Xiomara Pena: “Growth.”

Damian Jajarabilla: “Impressive.”

Tomas Tisocco: “Exciting.”

What do you like most about Yankton?

Jano Acosta: “What I have like the most about Yankton is the people. They are very kind and gentle. They treat you very well and they always make you feel welcome.”

Xiomara Pena: “Their attitude is great and so is the organisation. Also, how they welcomed us the first day we arrive. It’s been a nice time.”

What do you miss the most when you are away from home?

Melissa Regnasco: “Oh, I miss my pillow.”

[The whole team laughs]

“I have a special pillow. Is important to me.”

Are you a good tango dancer?

Whole team: “Nooo! We are not!” [Laughs]

One secret about a teammate?

Tomas Tisocco: “Humm… Jano is a popular guy. He is always breaking hearts.”

Good to know!