Mexico finds success in Guatemala’s all-important mixed team events
Ana Vazquez may yet dance in the arena in Guatemala City.
The overt 20-year-old, who was the top-seeded recurve woman at this opening stage of the international circuit after shooting a Pan Am record, lost out on a trip to the final four in the individual competition, but she rebounded to lead the Mexican mixed team to the title match.
“The task was clear. We spoke before and felt some nerves. It was just very good teamwork to obtain this result,“ she said. “It was an honour to shoot with my teammate. I think we make a good team.”
Partnered with Angel Alvarado, who will also shoot for the individual title in the recurve men’s event, the duo dispatched the Netherlands before beating India in a shoot-off.
It sets up a final with Germany’s Florian and Lisa Unruh.
“I think we can achieve huge things against Germany or any other team,” added Ana, who has a tendency to perform an in-venue jig if she records a result. (See: the final of the last world youth championships and the bronze-medal match in Monterrey.)
Mexico seeded third after qualifying, Germany fourth.
The two top-ranked recurve pairs, the USA and India, will shoot for bronze on Sunday morning.
The recurve mixed team competition will be watched with interest this season because the event is making its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 later this summer. It’s viewed as something of a wildcard – in terms of where the results may fall – with nations that are unable to field podium-level three-athlete teams eyeing it as a potential medal event.
Mexico will also shoot in the compound pairs final in Guatemala.
Andrea Becerra and Antonio Hidalgo will face Denmark’s Tanja Gellenthien and 2015 World Archery Champion Stephan Hansen in the gold-medal match.
“We visualised it since this morning. We wanted to win. We talked about it and said, ‘we’re going for that final, quarters or semis is not going to be enough’,” said Hidalgo.
The story of eliminations, though, was Guatemala’s upset of the top-ranked USA in the quarterfinals.
Having already beaten a Russian team featuring reigning World Archery Champion Natalia Avdeeva in a tiebreak, Maria Zebadua and Julio Barillas simply shot a much better match than the heavily favoured Paige Pearce and Braden Gellenthien.
The underdogs opened with an end of a perfect 40 points and took advantage of loose shooting from their opponents in the second and fourth, ultimately winning, 151-149.
A semifinal loss to Denmark put the Guatemalan duo into a bronze-medal match against the Netherlands, but it does mean that the host nation of this opening stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup will be represented in the finals arena this weekend. A medal on home soil would be a phenomenal takeaway for the team, and the pressure on the pair will be high.
Mixed team finals
The compound mixed team medal matches will take place on Saturday morning, and the recurve mixed team medal matches will follow on Sunday morning.
- Bronze: Guatemala (8) versus Netherlands (3)
- Gold: Denmark (5) versus Mexico (2)
- Bronze: USA (1) versus India (2)
- Gold: Mexico (3) versus Germany (4)