Schuh hangs up bow after 17-year international career
Berengere Schuh’s career in the French national team began in 1999 – three years after she picked up the sport, aged 13 – and saw her attend three Olympic Games, in Athens in 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
“I accompanied Berengere to her first European Championships in Lilleshall in 1999,” said head coach Marc Dellenbach. “Although still a cadet, she finished first individually and third in the team event. This was the beginning of a long career.”
Her international career spanned 17 years, during which she competed for France at all major international events: Olympic Games, World Archery Championships, Archery World Cup stages and Final and European Championships.
As well as three Olympics, and one bronze medal at the Games with the team in Beijing, Berengere competed at seven senior world championships – five outdoors and two indoors – winning three indoor world medals in the process: individual gold on home soil in Nimes in 2003, plus silver individual and team gold at Izmir 2007.
She made her debut on the Archery World Cup circuit in 2007, and did not missed a season until she retired, collecting seven stage medals in 10 seasons and bronze at the Archery World Cup Final in Istanbul in 2011.
Shoulder surgery kept her away from competition for almost one year from May 2013 ’til April 2014. During the absence, she missed two huge competitions in her home nation: the Paris 2013 World Cup Final and the World Archery Indoor Championships in Nimes in 2014 – 11 years after she became champion at the same venue at the age of 18.
When she returned at the Shanghai 2014 Archery World Cup stage, Berengere made the top 10 in all three events – individual, team and mixed team, finishing ninth in all. Since then, Berengere added an Indoor Archery World Cup silver medal at Marrakesh 2015 and mixed team silver, alongside Jean-Charles Valladont, at the 2016 European Archery Championships in Nottingham in May.
One month later, she made her farewells to international archery at stage three of the 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Antalya.
Officially announcing her retirement on social media on the very last day of competition, 19 June, she said:
“The competition in Turkey was neither a pleasure nor a formality. I did not get my quota for the Rio Olympics, I did not manage to shoot the way I wanted… I wanted to participate in my fourth Olympics but no, my international career will stop here in Antalya. I am very disappointed; I really gave everything.”
She added: “Seventeen is the number of years that I have spent in the French team and I hope I have left my footprint in French archery and marked all the young people to whom I wish as intense a career as mine.”
Barcelona 1992 Olympic Champion Sebastien Flute praised “her tremendous career”, saying it was “by far the most successful of a French female archer and certainly among the most remarkable in the world”.
“I had the pleasure to be by her side every day while preparing for the London Olympics as a teammate as well as for the past year within the coaching environment, and I can tell you that until the last arrow she has shot, she has remained true to what made her a high-level archer: demand, work and determination,” Flute said.
French head coach Marc Dellenbach said Schuh had spent 17 years organising her life around archery with a “fierce desire” to win medals and titles.
“By her commitment and professionalism, she will remain a rolemodel and a reference for young people who wish to succeed,” he said.
“I would like to sincerely thank her for all those moments shared together in joy and in tears. I wish that all coaches have the opportunity to work one day with an athlete like Berengere.”
Berengere will continue archery at the national level only, within her club.