“Best competition of my career” – Wieser’s perfect finals debut

Felix Wieser shoots his way to gold at the Nimes Tournament in 2022.

When Felix Wieser walked onto the line for his qualification round in the Parnasse hall at the 2022 Sud de France – Nimes Archery Tournament he had no idea what lay ahead.

Dropping just four points for a 296 over his first 30 arrows saw him sit third overall, but a perfect 300 for his back half took him to 596 for the 18-metre round and locked him in as the number one seed.

“I knew I was in good shape and my plan for the qualification round was a score in the middle-590s,” said Wieser on social media. “But how often does a plan work out in a competition?”

“The start with a 296 was what I expected. [I thought] it is good, but I can do it better, I knew I could shoot it (a 300) but I didn’t expect I actually would,” he continued.

The 56 10s and four nines were impressive – and only a little shy of Brady Ellison’s almost-impossible world record of 599 earned in the very same venue in 2017 – but Wieser had yet more 10s in his quiver.

He would go on to register 19 perfect sets over the next 21 he shot in matchplay as he took the recurve men’s title.

First, he dispatched Florent Mulot, scoring a nine in the third set, but followed that up with two perfect matches, scoring three 30s to take a second-round victory over Jules Vautrin and then four perfect 30s in the quarterfinal to defeat Bariteaud Iban.

A five-setter against Federico Musolesi in the semis saw him again drop one arrow in the third – but he saved his very best for last.

In his major arena debut, under the spotlights and the electric atmosphere of France, he ended his campaign against defending event champion Steve Wijler in the final with a perfect match. Wieser shot five perfect sets, 15 perfect arrows, while Wijler himself dropped just one, hitting a solitary nine in the first set.

“A magician never tells his best trick,” joked Wieser when asked how he delivered such an incredible performance, with so little arena experience, in France. “It was the greatest success in my career so far.”

“To see how great my shooting works in such a stressful situation [and] all the work in the last years paying off, just feels awesome.”

Of course, many archers of a world-class level can shoot at this level. But the ability to do so in such a high-pressure environment is what really makes a mark.

Felix Wieser stands on top of the podium at Nimes 2022

“Maybe this sounds hard, but it has to be otherwise you won’t shoot it,” he says about focusing on the perfect game. “Of course, I am proud and happy with these scores after the competition, but during it, I just shoot arrow by arrow, 10 by 10.”

That sounds remarkably like achieving the phenomenon that every sportsperson pursues – finding the groove.

“I was so nervous through the whole medal match though,” he added. “But I felt confident in my shooting – I just had to handle some stage fright. The trust in my shooting isn’t only in my imagination, but in reality also. I can trust it. When I am focused it will work out.”

Trust, confidence, focus – the key to archery has many names. Wieser had it last Sunday.

“[Wijler shot] a great score and more than enough to win in a match, but there is one nine and the door [is open] for your competitor to beat you,” he said. “Indoor is a beast.”

The German 28-year-old now moves to Las Vegas to compete in the second of two events comprising the international 18-metre circuit this season and, hopefully, the Indoor Archery World Series Finals. He’s not resting on his success from France, aiming to do even better in the USA.

“Be sure, I will work hard and shoot a lot of arrows to not only repeat this result but to increase it,” he concludes.