Cavanagh draws even in head-to-head with Fabry

Great Britain’s John Cavanagh renewed his long-standing rivalry with Jeff Fabry of the USA during the W1 men’s quarterfinals in Donaueschingen, Germany. Britain’s Athens 2004 Paralympic Champion beat the winner of London 2012, 136-134.

The pair have competed against each other for over 10 years. When they arrived at the Donaueschingen worlds, Fabry led the head-to-head series 6-5, but with that quarterfinal win Cavanagh drew it back to six matches apiece.

John Cavanagh, experienced enough to know that a contest against Fabry will be a difficult one, said he relishes the match-up.

“Rivalries motivate you,” explained John. “And Jeff Fabry is, personally, the biggest for me.”

“If it’s someone unknown, you don’t know how they are going to shoot. Whereas, with Jeff, you know he will consistently shoot high scores.”

John and Jeff’s last match before Donaueschingen was during the quarterfinals at London 2012, where Fabry defeated Cavanagh on the Brit’s home soil. He went on to win his first Paralympic title after two bronze medal at Athens 2004 – which John won – and Beijing 2008.

Fabry lost most of his right arm and right leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 15, and shoots by holding the bow in his left hand and drawing the string with his teeth.

He was gracious in defeat after the Donaueschingen match. 

“I’ll turn my attention to Rio and make it 7-6,” he joked. “It seems the rivalry is still going strong, that’s for sure.”

Cavanagh, up for the challenge, said he’d look forward to a Rio rematch.

By making it into the quarterfinals, the 59-year-old had helped secure a British quota place for the next Paralympic Games. After beating Fabry, he then lost in the semifinals to teammate John Walker.

It was a close encounter, the pair separated by one point over 15-arrows.

Cavanagh led most of the first half before Walker drew back to level with three arrows to go, then edged ahead, taking the match and the gold medal match berth, 143-132.

“I’ve shot against John so much in training, I knew it was going to be close. It the end it was just a single point. We both shot well,” said Cavanagh. The 15-arrow totals were two of the three highest scores posted throughout the W1 men’s elimination brackets.

The only score to beat it on the day was David Drahoninsky’s first round 144, which was ratified as a new world record.

Cavanagh faces Italian Fabio Azzolini in the Donaueschingen bronze medal match, while Walker goes against first seed and London 2012 silver medallist Drahoninsky of the Czech Republic for gold.