Kazakh team guarantee nation’s 1st World Cup podium

Kazakhstan’s recurve men upset the USA in the first round of team eliminations in Shanghai, before surviving two shoot-offs – against Russia in the quarterfinals and Japan in the semifinals – to make a gold medal match and guarantee the nation its first ever medal on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit.

Denis Gankin, Sanzhar Mussayev and Oibek Saidiyev will shoot against Korea in the final.

“This feels great. We’ve really prepared for this,” said Gankin. “It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of shooting. We didn’t do anything special here, just did our best.”

Kazakhstan and the USA were tied at 3-3 heading into the fourth set of their first-round match, where the 15th seeds shot 54 points to the favourite’s 53, springing a run into the brackets. The trio then went 4-0 up over Russia before sevens in both the back sets derailed any chance of a clean victory. Tied at 4-4, Kazakhstan found the middle in the tiebreaker, shooting 29 points to Russia’s 27 and advancing to the final four.

In Gankin, Mussayev and Saidiyev’s best match of the day - they posted a 56-point average for each six arrows – Japan won the last set, 57-56, to force Kazakhstan into another shoot-off.

Japan’s nine, eight and seven wouldn’t cut it against a team that opened with a pair of 10s in the tiebreaker.

Despite shooting a six with the last arrow of the day, Kazakhstan won the semifinal, securing a spot in the gold medal match against Korea and an historic first world medal – on either the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit or World Archery Championships – for the nation.

The first stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 16 to 21 May in Shanghai, China.