US Virgin Islands’ Nicholas D’Amour guarantees first international podium in Antalya

Nicholas D’Amour shoots during eliminations at the European Grand Prix in Antalya in 2021.

Nicholas D’Amour of the US Virgin Islands has secured himself a spot in the recurve men’s gold-medal match at this week’s European Grand Prix in Antalya, guaranteeing his first podium at an international tournament.

“Not only is all my hard work and my training paying off ,but it is also like redemption from my past results that I knew could’ve been better,” he said. “I have been shooting some amazing high scores in practice for the majority of my career, but I have never been able to put it together in competition.”

D’Amour had a poor ranking round by his recent standards on Wednesday, scoring 653 points in near-perfect weather and seeding just 50th. It paved a tough path to the final, but he thrived nonetheless.

D’Amour beat Olympians Anton Prilepov and Dan Olaru in the first two rounds, survived a shoot-off with a 10 against Moritz Wieser and then defeated Russian world number 15 Artem Makhnenko in the quarters.

His debut final will be against another archer from Russia, Galsan Bazarzhapov.

“The conditions were very challenging with the wind and with the colder temperatures … but I just tried to make the strongest shots that I could, and make the best decisions on when to shoot during the lulls in the wind, and also where to aim with the ever-changing conditions,” D’Amour said.

“At the end of the day, I was able to manage the conditions better than everyone else, and that’s why I have been undefeated so far in this tournament.”

Currently ranked 138 in the world, the points D’Amour will secure in Antalya will shoot him up the ranking list.

The 19-year-old flashed significant improvement in his few opportunities during the pandemic-disrupted past 18 months, and he has high aspirations for the season ahead.

“Even though I didn’t control my ranking round here the way I know I can, I can say for sure that I’m really getting somewhere, and I can start a new chapter in my career with more success stories,” he said.

Top-seeded recurve man Mete Gazoz, who shot a monster qualification score of 694, lost his first match against Jeff Henckels. Yasemin Anagoz, who was the top seed in the recurve women’s event, was eliminated by France’s Lisa Barbelin in the quarterfinals.

It’s a disappointing result for the Turkish pair, having impressed in the ranking rounds, but Saturday's wind severely affected the brackets.

Barbelin, who won the European Grand Prix in Porec last month, and Slovakian compounder Jozef Bosansky, who finished second at the same tournament, are into their second consecutive finals at these world-ranking events.

Russia will sweep the compound women’s podium.

Reigning World Archery Champion Natalia Avdeeva faces Arina Cherkezova in the gold-medal match, while teammates Viktoria Balzhanova and Stepanida Artakhinova will shoot for bronze.

Competition at the European Grand Prix in Turkey concludes with finals on Sunday.

Photos by Saygin Akinci. Quotes by Oyku Ergec.

Finals in Antalya

World Archery will stream the gold-medal matches delayed on its YouTube channel at 14h00 CET on Tuesday. Matches listed in broadcast order.