Erik Jonsson completes unbeaten season with impressive finale

Erik Jonsson aims during the World Games in 2017.

Since November, we’ve been wondering if Erik Jonsson would be dethroned from his customary spot at the top of the barebow men’s result list during each remote stage of the Indoor Archery World Series.

And since November, the five-time World Archery Field Champion has proved simply unassailable.

He won the first three events with scores of 569, 577 and 576 points – all extremely respectable totals and always just out of reach to his nearest competitors. But when Italian archer Ferruccio Berti posted a season-leading 579 on the first day of stage four, it finally looked like Jonsson would be beaten.

“I thought, ‘that’s a score I can’t beat’,” the Swede admitted. “My preparations hadn’t been the best because I‘d been sick with a fever for seven or eight days.”

Berti, despite his impressive marker, thought it still might not be enough.

“He is a great champion and youth is on his side,” explained the 67-year-old. “But this time, I think I’m at least equal.”

In the absence of traditional live events, the head-to-head excitement of this year’s innovative remote Indoor Archery World Series has come from watching scores being submitted live simultaneously from ranges around the globe. The number of people logged into the website skyrocketed when Jonsson started his round two days later, on Sunday 14 February.

He started well – shooting two perfect ends to start and looking on pace to finish close to Berti’s 579. But disaster struck in the 10th end. Erik shot a five.

“I thought it was all over,” he said. “I got so angry with myself, put myself together and shot excellent after that. I was lucky enough to come up with one of my best scores ever.”

At halfway, Jonsson had 287 points and was on pace for a total in the low 570s. An excellent second half dragged him back into the fight with Berti.

He dropped just six more points, and three of those in a single end, to finish with 581. It secured him a fourth consecutive remote stage victory on the 2021 Indoor Archery World Series. He is, officially, unbeaten for the 2021 indoor season.

“I’m very pleased with my result,” he said. “In fact, all four results have been really good for me. This is my best indoor season so far. It feels good to have won all four stages. I didn’t expect that.”

Jonsson will undoubtedly be named barebow men’s circuit champion as leader of the open ranking when the scores from this last stage are fully checked and finalised.

For now, though, he deserves to celebrate an incredible single result – 580-plus points on the 60-arrow, 18-metre ranking round with a barebow is unheard of – and for providing us all with an exciting conclusion to barebow’s first year as an official category on the Indoor Archery World Series.

The 2021 Indoor Archery World Series is a mass-participation circuit of live and online archery tournaments.