Peineau: “I’ve learned some lessons from Lausanne”

World ranked number one – and second seed for the event – the 28-year old French compounder is, without a doubt, the nation’s best chance for a medal in Mexico City.

Treading Mexican soil for the first time, and in his second World Cup Final appearance, Sebastien Peineau is committed to improving on the sixth-placed finish from Lausanne 2014. He brings with him great confidence after winning two of the circuit’s stages in 2015, Shanghai to open the season as well as the closing stage in Medellin.

“It went well, I shot better than on the training field yesterday,” said Sebastien after the familiarisation session of the day on the ‘real’ finals field at the Zócalo, in downtown Mexico City.

“However, you must remain vigilant because the wind is turning, it can quickly switch between the right and the left,” he explained.

Asked about how he found the venue built for the matches this weekend, Peineau said it was very bright and very pretty – and he was looking forward to walking out into the arena.

“The organisers have worked extremely hard, and I think it will be even better tomorrow with all the public.”

He will face teammate Dominique Genet – the oldest competitor at the event at 46 – in his first match. Genet qualified seventh to the World Cup Final.

“To be polite, it’s really unpleasant,” admitted Seb. “We’re teammates, and obviously we would have preferred facing each other later than the first round.”

There is the positive side: “It ensures a French archer will be in the semis, so it’s good for us.”

The two professional athletes discussed the situation, and whatever the outcome of the match, there will be no hard feelings between them.

“It will perhaps even put a little less stress on the quarterfinal since we know each other and we can talk about it so openly,” explained Peineau.

Though this World Cup season’s records speaks in Seb’s favour, Dominique has two prior Finals on his belt: Tokyo 2012 and Paris 2013, where he came seventh and fourth, respecitvely.

The winner of the Musketeers’ clash is very likely to cross swords with six-time Finalist Reo Wilde in the semi-finals.

The US archer won the first edition of the Archery World Cup Final when it was launched in 2006. He will look for a second crown ten years later, on Mexican soil again…

Peineau might be a tough contender, though, if he gets through his first match, accompanied by the experience gained from both Lausanne 2014 and his wins in Shanghai and Medellin in 2015.

“Technically, I did not especially evolve since last year, but I’ve tweaked a few small aspects of my shooting,” he said. “I have learned some lessons from Lausanne where I did not do well on the first two ends. I really struggled to control myself because of the stress.”

He worked on his approach to the event and hopes it will bear fruit on the field of play: “I feel good, I feel ready, but still you must be careful not to be overconfident. You must take things as they come, and rest on whatever is your strength.”

He and Dominique will be cheered on by a third French archer on site, who features in Sunday’s recurve finals. Seeded fourth, Wroclaw 2015 stage winner Jean-Charles Valladont awaits China’s Xing Yu in the recurve men’s quarterfinals at the Mexico City 2015 Archery World Cup Final.

“Jean-Charles will support us tomorrow and we will return the favour Sunday,” Sebastien said, smiling. “It's very nice to be here with other teammates. There is a good atmosphere in the group and it allows us to prepare in the right mood so that everything goes well.”

Seb did say that the group of competitors at the World Cup Final is much smaller than normal, so the overall atmosphere, too, is a little more relaxed.

“And we will take time to visit Mexico City a bit on Monday before going back home,” he added.

Before that, though, there’s an Archery World Cup Final Champion title to fight for.