Spain’s Garcia surprise winner in Mexico City

Miguel Alvarino Garcia, winner of the first European Games in Baku in 2015, made true on the promise he made when he was interviewed during the Aquece Rio Olympic test event in September.

There, and after a quieter second-half of the season, he told reporters he was “taking it easy,” preparing himself for Mexico City.

Garcia beat Lee Seungyun in the first round, in five, tough sets, then took another five in a slow dismantling of the USA’s Collin Klimitchek in the semis. The decider was the last, when the Spaniard dropped a final-arrow X to clinch the set and match by a point.

It put the seventh seed, the lowest points qualifier for the World Cup Final, into a gold medal match against France’s Jean-Charles Valladont.

A final between two European archers, and the only two European archers in the recurve competition in Mexico City.

A low-scoring first three arrows handed Garcia the advantage, 27-26, and then the pair split the next two sets. In the second they both had 27 points and then 28 in the third.

Miguel Alvarino Garcia, who had never taken an international medal before 2015, was two set points away from taking his second major gold of the year.

Both started with a nine, then followed with a 10.

Valladont, shooting first, had a chance to keep his tournament alive, but put his arrow into the nine, leaving a single point gap for Garcia to take the match.

“‘Miguel, make it 10!’,” the European Games champ said he screamed to himself in his head.

It wasn’t just a 10. It was as close to the middle as you’d ever want in such a situation. X10 and a second hugely impressive crown in 2015 for Spain’s Miguel Alvarino Garcia.

“This is a dream come true. This is the first time Spain wins a title at an Archery World Cup Final, so winning it is amazing,” he said.

“Next? Some holidays… I think I deserve them.”

Possibly an understatement!

Valladont, with silver, said he badly wanted to make the final match, in his first World Cup Final appearance.

“I was more relaxed for my gold medal match than in the semis,” said Valladont. Who continued a rout of the Korean team by beating World Archery Champion Kim Woojin in their semifinal, after second seed Lee Seungyun lost to the eventual winner in the first phase.

“When I was shooting against Miguel I was more relaxed and worrying less about the arrows, and that’s why they spread left and right.”

Frenchman Valladont, who won the World Cup stage in Wroclaw in 2015, displayed sheer-iron mindedness in the shoot-off semifinal win over Kim Woojin.

Up 3-1 after his Korean opponent started slow, JC had a chance to drive his point home when he needed a nine to win the third set, but shot an eight. Kim then brought the match to a draw at 4-all, then the pair drew the last to take it to a tiebreaker.

Woojin shot first, 10, 35mm away from the very centre of the target. Valladont… X10 – and 13mm closer.

“That last arrow was very hard, because it was win or lose,” said Valladont. “I train all day to shoot-arrow-by-arrow, and this wasn’t any different.”

After something of a shock, Kim rallied to take bronze.

He jumped 5-1 up, shooting eight of his first nine arrows into the 10, before Collin Klimitchek took the fourth set, 28 points to the Korean’s 27.

Kim returned to sublime form, posting 29 points in the fifth and final set to take the match, 7-3.

The bronze medal pairs with a gold Woojin won at the 2012 Archery World Cup Final in Tokyo, Japan.