Top 3: Archers at the 2021 Pan American Championships

After a year-long hiatus on international competition, we knew the landscape of elite archery would be different when major events finally returned this past weekend at the 2021 Pan American Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. And without a doubt, there was change. The tournament was not won by the presumptive favourites – and plenty of young archers made a significant mark.

Both individual recurve titles were won by archers with little in the way of prior international experience. Santiago Arcila and Valentina Vazquez may not have been household names prior to Monterrey, but they're on everyone's radar now. 

It was clear that some archers have made the most of their time in lockdown more than others. And many have a little more work to do before the Hyundai Archery World Cup season starts in full in Guatemala City next month.

Before we move on, though, scroll down for our (subjective!) list of the most impressive performances in Monterrey. 

3) Valentina Vazquez

Who are they? Recurve woman from Mexico.

Where did they finish? Gold medal and the Pan American Champion title.

Why are they on this list? It was a surprise when Vazquez, 18, topped the open rankings during the remote Indoor Archery World Series this past winter. Seeding fourth in Monterrey, however, was a solid – but not spectacular – start to her first event with the excellent Mexican recurve women’s team. It was her come-from-behind and shoot-off victory in the quarters to make the final four, followed by a second consecutive tiebreak victory in the semis, that really impressed. Despite the choppy winds, Vazquez rode confident arrows to individual gold and the Pan American title at her debut major championships.

2) Juan Fernando Bonilla

Who are they? Compound man from Colombia.

Where did they finish? Runner-up.

Why are they on this list? The first seed, gold in the mixed team and gold in the men’s team … ex-recurver Juan Fernando Bonilla was having the perfect championships – his first international event shooting a compound – until he stepped into the arena for his semifinal against Colombian teammate Daniel Munoz. Less able to deal with the score-damaging gusts of wind, Bonilla ended up in the bronze medal match and took third on the podium. But that single match lost doesn’t detract from what was an otherwise exceptional debut in a new category for the 26-year-old.

1) Ane Marcelle Dos Santos

Who are they? Recurve woman from Brazil.

Where did they finish? First and with a quota place in the Olympic qualification tournament.

Why are they on this list? Five years ago at the Olympic Games in Rio, all eyes were on Marcus D’Almeida to bring home the host nation's best result in the archery competition. But it was Ane Marcelle Dos Santos who won her first two matches and made it through to women’s finals day, ultimately finishing in a team-leading ninth position. Dos Santos travelled to Monterrey with one simple mission: to win a quota place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Mission accomplished.

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