Lopez upsets Colombian teammate Usquiano in emotional Paris final
Long-time teammates became temporary foes on Saturday as Sara Lopez defeated fellow Colombian archer Alejandra Usquiano to win compound women’s gold at the third stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Paris and claim an automatic ticket to the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Yankton later this year.
“I’m happy on one hand but, on the other, I’m also very sad because I won against one of my teammates,” Lopez said. “We wanted a shoot-off. We’ve been showing the best matches here so far, so it was a very strong performance from both of us. I’m going to represent her with all of my heart at the Finals in the United States.”
Lopez’s success comes at the expense of Usquiano in more ways than one.
Both winners in the compound women’s team final earlier in the day in Paris, reigning and five-time circuit champion Lopez prevented her compatriot from attending the season finale in Yankton – despite Alejandra having enough points to qualify on ranking – because a maximum of two archers per nation can shoot at the World Cup Final.
Nora Valdez, the stage one victor, and Lopez take priority.
It could have gone the other way in Paris and, for much of the final, it looked like it would. Usquiano had complete control of the match through four ends, shooting 12 perfect arrows for 120 points.
Lopez had blinked first, shooting a nine with her second arrow of the third. She trailed by one entering the final end.
The target panic that Sara has been talking of since the windy first event of the year was nowhere in sight as the most successful compound woman in history drilled three 10s to finish on a total of 149 points – by far her best match of this tournament despite the attention of the cameras in the arena.
Usquiano, who had looked so much in control, let nerves creep into her penultimate arrow, holding for a long, long time and hitting a nine.
The tide had turned and she needed a 10 with her final arrow to extend the match to a tiebreak. With the pressure firmly on her shoulders for the first time in the afternoon, Usuiqano shot a second consecutive nine to drop the match – and her bid for Yankton – by a single point. Lopez took the victory.
“We did great work,” said the winner, who responded to her teammate’s last arrow with a combination of joy and sympathy. “Both of us had a strong shot, a very great level of shooting.”
Lopez beat Mexico’s Andrea Becerra comfortably, 147-141, in her first match of the final four, further demonstrating that the target panic that has plagued her for much of the season is in the past.
Usquiano’s semifinal match against Toja Ellison was much closer, with the two tied through three ends. The following series made the difference, with Ellison dropping two points to the Colombian archer that would eventually prove her undoing.
Ellison was able to respond with a victory over Becerra in the bronze medal match to reach the podium for the first time since becoming a mother last year.
The last compound women’s spot at the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final won’t be decided until Monday when the new world ranking list is issued and the tie for the invitation for the fourth points qualifier – between Natalia Avdeeva and Savannah Vanderwier – is resolved.
Competition continues in Paris with recurve finals on Sunday.