Valladont and Marchenko win European Championships

Old Market Square in the city centre in Nottingham, UK was packed for recurve Sunday’s finals at the 2016 European Archery Championships.

The afternoon session in the land of Robin Hood saw the mixed pair of Moldova winning gold over France, after Ukraine successfully took on Turkey for the bronze. Not long afterwards, the loud home crowd celebrated Britain’s Patrick Huston picking up an individual third place ahead of Frenchman Lucas Daniel.

But France would have its win in Nottingham.

First seed JC Valladont, the Frenchman who shot in the mixed team competition, went back out into the arena to meet 16-year-old Turkish athlete Mete Gazoz, who qualified second, just one point behind the reigning World Archery Field Champion, in the recurve men’s gold medal match.

Both JC and Mete shot two 10s and a nine to open the match. While Mete kept the same score in the second set, JC shot one point less. They split the third set and Mete was quickly up 4-2. 

In the fourth and fifth sets, JC found the middle again, putting down a pair of 29s, first to catch Mete up then – as the winner of the continental qualifying event in Nottingham put down a 26 – claim a crown he had not won before: European Champion.

“Today I came to do my best,” said Valladont. “I’m in all the posters of the European Championships and I wanted to win. I’m satisfied.”

Those posters, used to promote the championships all over Nottingham, made JC famous around the city – and even got him a cheap taxi ride, as the driver recognised him.

Mete, who admitted losing control of his form, shot exceptionally – as he has done all week – but couldn’t quite control the pressure at the end of his first senior gold medal final ever.

“I could have win but I lost control over my body,” admitted Mete. “Having never won gold brings extra pressure as I keep saying ‘next time, next time’ – and it’s not happening, so yes.”

Veronika Marchenko, who collected gold with the Ukrainian recurve women’s team in the morning, took on Russia’s Tuiana Dashidorzhieva to take her second win of the day and her first individual title ever.

“I’m still shaking,” admitted Veronika, just after finishing her match! “I know that my parents, my friends and my teammates were supporting me here and back home; that helped me to shoot well.”

“I really wanted to win this medal, it’s the first time I’ve won individually. I’ve been shooting for a long time and in teams I can do it well, but individually I struggle a bit. It’s important for me to win, especially this year.”

Germany’s Lisa Unruh beat Veronika’s teammate Anastasia Pavlova to bronze, 6-4.