Luxembourg qualifies surprise team to Minsk 2019 European Games

The recurve men’s team from Luxembourg won a surprise bronze medal and qualification berth to the Minsk 2019 European Games during the 2018 European Archery Championships in Legnica, Poland.

“Unbelievable, no? I thought there could have been a possibility to do it because all of us can actually shoot good. But it wasn’t the day for that,” said Jeff Henckels.

“But we did some nice ends and we got a little lucky and, maybe, a lot even. Y’know there are those days that you just take it.”

The Luxembourg team – Henckels with Pit and Joe Klein, and coached by Austrian Olympian Laurence Baldauff – won three shoot-offs in a row.

First fell Austria, then number one seeds France, and then Great Britain to seal the invitation to Minsk 2019.

Two of them were really not bad. Against France, we were lucky,” admitted Henckels. “Who wins a shoot-off, 24-23?”

All four semifinalist recurve teams – both men and women – at the European Archery Championships secured three-athlete quotas for the European Games, as did the top-scoring quarterfinal loser.

Both of those fifth places went to Great Britain.

In the men it was the only quarterfinal shoot-off, while the women had to have a second tiebreak with Estonia to decide the team spot.

Luxembourg’s men, after qualifying, lost to Italy in the semifinals – but then won a bronze medal match against Spain…

…in another, fourth, shoot-off.

“[Qualifying] was actually one thing we were hoping for but I even said before [we started shooting], come on – is this realistic? No,” said Henckels, referring to the team’s position in the bracket. “But it’s cool.”

Germany won recurve women’s and compound women’s team bronze medals; compound men’s team third place went to Croatia.

Individual places for Minsk 2019 are available in Legnica for recurve men and women from nations that did not qualify in the team event, and compound athletes.

Minsk 2019 primary team qualifiers

  • Germany  – 3 recurve women
  • Great Britain  – 3 recurve men, 3 recurve women
  • Italy  – 3 recurve men, 3 recurve women
  • Luxembourg  – 3 recurve men
  • Russia  – 3 recurve men, 3 recurve women
  • Spain  – 3 recurve men
  • Turkey  – 3 recurve women

The 2018 European Archery Championships takes place on 28 August to 1 September in Legnica, Poland.