Colombian compounds reassert dominance at world championships

Colombia celebrates winning the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.

Colombia recovered the compound women’s team title and added its first-ever mixed team world crown as the USA returned to the top of the men’s team podium at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships in Yankton.

The Latin American nation broke onto the world scene by winning women’s gold in 2013.

Colombia’s women won the title again in 2017 – and had a shot at a third in five editions of the world championships when Sara Lopez, Alejandra Usquiano and Nora Valdez faced India in this year’s final. They comfortably beat Priya Gurjar, Muskan Kirar and Jyothi Surekha Vennam by five, 229 to 224. 

“To be honest, we are very happy because it’s our third world medal, a gold medal, and we’re really happy for the team we have become, the three of us, and giving this new title to Colombia,” said Alejandra.

The two teams opened with ends of 58 points apiece but the Colombian trio, managing the ever-increasing windy conditions in the arena, slowly started to build an advantage, losing less arrows to gusts and using speedy shooting to gain an upper hand.

“We stayed calm and had support within the team, knowing what to say to each of us at the right time, I think it was what helped us the most,” said Nora.

Returning to the top spot of the podium has been a focus for this group.

“We set this goal long time ago and we keep proving, year after year, how strong Colombia’s compound team is. We want to inspire a lot more archers to continue this path and to win more medals in the future,” said Sara.

Lopez returned to the arena later in the afternoon, paired with teammate Daniel Munoz, to contest the mixed team title – again against India, this time represented by Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Abhishek Verma.

As the sun started to glare from behind the clouds, Lopez and Munoz rode seven straight 10s in the middle of the 16-arrow match to a six-point advantage.

No strong finished from the Indian duo could close the gap.

With Munoz drilling his last 10, making it six of eight of his arrows in the final hitting the maximum, Colombia closed the affair four points ahead.

“The key was to get comfortable. Sara is a very good archer and that makes me feel comfortable shooting with her,” said Munoz, who praised his teammate. “The conditions were very difficult. She already had the opportunity to check the wind and she gave me some advice.”

These two titles double Colombia’s all-time gold medal count at the world championships to four. The mixed team crown is the first Colombian title won outside of the women’s team event.

The USA had won shot at a compound victory in Yankton after eliminations.

Braden Gellenthien, Kris Schaff and James Lutz grasped the opportunity, beating Mexico to celebrate the USA’s eighth compound men’s team world championship and reclaim the crown since losing it to Korea in 2019.

“It feels amazing to be able to put on a show for the home crowd and bring the men’s championship back where it belongs,” said Braden, who’s been on the team for an incredible seven of those world titles.

They were better from start to finish.

After opening the match with a 55 to Antonio Hidalgo, Uriel Olvera and Miguel Becerra’s 53, it felt like neither team would run away with the final. But the two-point deficit would be the closest Mexico would get.

A seven from Schaff in the third end could have sunk the ship, but Becerra missed in the fourth, the wind becoming just too much for the young archer. The USA took the match, 226-211.

It wasn’t the wind that was most difficult.

“We weren’t prepared for the sun. That gave us the most issues. It was really tough seeing out there. I don’t know if it was the glare off the target or what, but it was pretty difficult. But we managed to do it,” said James.

Competition at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships continues with compound finals on Saturday.

Final ranking: Compound women’s team

  1. COL flag Colombia
  2. IND flag India
  3. USA flag USA

Final ranking: Compound men’s team

  1. USA flag USA
  2. MEX flag Mexico
  3. AUT flag Austria

Final ranking: Compound mixed team

  1. COL flag  Colombia
  2. IND flag India
  3. KOR flag Korea