Romania’s Amaistroaie making unexpected appearance in final four

Madalina Amaistroaie shoots during eliminations at the first stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City.

The biggest surprise through eliminations at the opening stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup hails from Romania, where recurve woman Madalina Amaistroaie is very close to securing her country’s first-ever podium on the circuit.

The unheralded 18-year-old advanced to the recurve womens final four in Guatemala City on Thursday with a trio of impressive match performances. She joins India’s Deepika Kumari, Mexico’s Alejandra Valencia and the USA’s Mackenzie Brown, the woman Amaistroaie will face in the semifinals on Sunday at the Sport Complex Los Arcos.

“I’m very proud  this is my first big international result,” Amaistroaie said. “I started without any feelings. I wasn't stressed. I was like, ‘okay, I'll shoot, and whatever happens will happen’.”

Seeded a modest 20th after Tuesday’s qualifications, Amaistroaie cruised past Germany’s Elisa Tartler in the second round on Thursday, 6-0, before stealing a pair of tiebreak victories over the USA’s Casey Kaufhold and Mexico’s Valentina Vazquez in the third round and quarterfinals, respectively. 

That pivotal quarterfinal match came down to a shoot-off against Vazquez, the fellow 18-year-old who won gold at last month’s Pan American Championships. Shooting through a difficult breeze and admittedly pressurised stakes, Amaistroaie shot a confident 10 to Vazquez’s eight to advance to the semifinals.

“That last match, my opponent was really tough. It was hard for me to beat her,” Amaistroaie said. “I was so nervous. My legs were shaking, and there was wind, but I made it through.”

In addition to winning Romania’s first individual circuit event, Amaistroaie is using the experience in Guatemala City as practice for the upcoming Olympic qualifier at the Paris stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in July.

No Romanian has ever finished higher than 17th in a stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup before. Madalina has already blown past that barrier. Any more wins on Sunday would not only make her Romania’s first medallist on the world stage but only give her even more confidence as she looks to secure a quota spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games later this summer.

“A medal would be great. I would really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s only a practice competition, but it has big results.”

Final fours

Archers are listed in match order, with seed in brackets. The first two archers face each other in the first semifinal, the second two in the second semifinal.

Recurve men

Recurve women