Marrakesh 2015: 10 things you need to know

1. Third time’s the charm

This year’s event in Morocco marks the third time that Marrakesh has hosted the first stage of the Indoor Archery World Cup circuit. The first was in 2013 and the second last season.

Following the only World Cup stage in Africa, the indoor circuit visits Bangkok, Nimes and Las Vegas – with another Saturday-night Final scheduled after the fourth stage, the first two days of the famous Vegas Shoot.

2. Third time in a row?

The USA’s Braden Gellenthien has had gold in the compound men’s competition at both previous events in Marrakesh. He’s back in 2015, with a shot to make it three in a row.

Italy’s Matteo FissoreCrystal Gauvin from the States and Brit Naomi Folkard have also been extremely consistent at the event. Fissore had recurve men’s silver in ’13 and gold in ’14, Gauvin had compound women’s gold in ’13 and bronze in ’14 and Folkard, shooting in the recurve women’s category, won the first edition and had silver in 2014.

Gauvin and Folkard have not entered Marrakesh 2015. But Fissore, known for being something of an indoor specialist, is back.

3. Small cut

On the outdoor Archery World Cup stage, it’s a top-104 cut for the head-to-head brackets. Indoors, it’s down to just the top 32. Whatever happens at the lower end of qualification, that magic cut figure is what people will be watching as the 60-arrow ranking round sessions draw to a close.

4. Small faces

Outdoor competition: Compound at 50 metres with an 80cm-diameter face. Recurve at 70 metres with an 122cm-diameter face.

Indoor competition: Compound and recurve at 18 metres with a 40cm-diametre face. (Cut to 20cm as only the 10-6 rings are available, in triple spot.) The recurve 10 measures four centimetres across, the compound just two!

5. Lone rangers

Algeria, Belgium, Bahrein, Monaco and Tunisa all have a single archer in Marrakesh. The open-entry indoor circuit is a fantastic opportunity to see a huge variety of athletes from countries not active on the outdoor circuit.

6. recurve rosters

The largest category at Marrakesh 2015, 80 recurve men from 15 nations will compete for the first Indoor Archery World Cup ranking points of the season. Heading to the event, there are 33 recurve women registered. If it stays that way, only one will miss the cut to the eliminations! Tough break.

7. Viking horde

In 2014, Iceland travelled with a considerable contingent to Morocco. In 2015, it’s less – seven archers – but includes ’14 finallist Helga Kolbrun Magnusdottir. In a weaker compound women’s field, she’s got a good shot at going better than fourth if she shoots as well for the second year in a row.

8. France’s quarter stake

A total of 50 of the 211 athletes shooting in Marrakesh are French. With 25% of the archers on the line and successful indoor shooters like Berengere Schuh, Sandrine Vandionant and Pierre Plihon in the ranks, that’s at least 25% of the silverware heading back to France at the close of the event, right?

Anything less would be a disappointment, though the squad is absent compound hard hitters Seb Peineau and PJ Deloche. Anything more, without a doubt, would be a success.

9. Archery World Cup Finalists

Just a month after shooting at the Archery World Cup Final in Mexico City, Natalia Avdeeva, Andrea Marcos, Mike Schloesser, Stephan Hansen and Jean-Charles Valladont are back in action, at a far shorter distance. With not much time to adjust sightmarks and set-ups, just how well will these five top athletes have prepared for indoor competition?

10. Mr Perfect, Round 2

Mike Schloesser got the title Mister Perfect when he became the first archer in history to shoot 600 out of 600 on the 60-arrow indoor qualification round at Nimes, stage three of the 2014-15 circuit, earlier in the year.

He followed it up with a 599 at the European Championships just weeks later, and has four shots at repeating his unbelievable performance on the world stage this indoor season. They say that breaking the mould makes filling it easier, so can Mister Perfect shoot a second 600 before anyone else has matched him?

Marrakesh is our first chance to find out.