Mexico, Italy, USA win women’s team Olympic quotas at final qualifier
The top-seeded nation after this morning’s qualification round, Ana Vazquez, Aida Roman and Alejandra Valencia beat Italy in the semifinal that would book the ticket to Japan – but the turning point, the moment at which Mexico staked its claim on the Games, actually came one match earlier.
Down, 4-0, and almost out to Indonesia, the Mexican trio launched a comeback that culminated in a perfect shoot-off, displaying the quality needed to contend at the Olympics themselves.
“It feels great,” said Vazquez, who at the age of 20 served as the emotional anchor for the Mexican team. “These are my first Olympics. I just can’t say how I feel.”
Mexico went on to beat Casey Kaufhold, Mackenzie Brown and Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez of the USA in the gold medal match in Paris but, by that point, both teams had fulfilled their purpose in the tournament.
“It felt good, especially when you feel the support of your teammates – when they are there in every single shot, good or bad,” Mexico’s Valencia said. “When we are together, the feeling multiplies.”
She will make her second Games appearance in Tokyo, London 2012 silver medallist Roman her fourth.
The USA snuck into the semifinals after a shoot-off against Turkey in the quarters.
That contest, like Mexico’s dramatic finish, was equally tense. Both teams shot scores of 25 in the tiebreak, requiring the judge to decide which country’s arrow landed closest to the centre. It was close – and needed multiple measurements with callipers.
After a lengthy conference at the target, Brown’s arrow was declared the winner to send the USA to the next round, a straight-set win over Spain and the Olympic quota.
"It feels really good," said Kaufhold, who watched her individual ticket to Tokyo upgraded to a full team slate. "I came into this knowing we just had to shoot strong shots and be a really good, cohesive team, and I think we did that.”
Italy and Spain battled for the last team quota.
“We are very motivated and a very strong team working well together,” Boari said. “There’s still a long way to go, but we are definitely ready to put the work in to go all the way.”
India, the second seed – and a favourite on equal footing with Mexico entering the afternoon – lost in the second round to Colombia. The unexpected result, while disappointing for India, speaks to the competitive field that didn't hold anything back with no other chances to qualify teams for the Olympics remaining.
Competition at the final qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continues with the individual event on Monday.
Recurve women’s teams at Tokyo 2020
The final list of qualified nations.
- Chinese Taipei
- Great Britain