Confident Olympic Champ Gazoz qualifies top at Spring Arrows

Turkey’s Mete Gazoz in qualification at the Spring Arrows in 2022.

Recurve men’s world number two Mete Gazoz has topped qualifying at the Spring Arrows world ranking event in Antalya with a 687, while Katharina Bauer (657), Batuhan Akcaoglu (709) and Yesim Bostan (708) rounded off the top seeds in the individual events.

The mainly European, recurve-heavy event is a perfect opportunity for archers from the continent to iron out any creases in their game ahead of the opening stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup at this same venue later in the month.

“I’m happy with my performance,” said Gazoz, after qualification had finished. “My teammates and I shot really good in the first international tournament of the year and we are going to keep raising our scores.”

“The conditions were really good in the field; the weather was warm and there was no wind. Everything was convenient for shooting.”

Gazoz, like the rest of his team, spends much of his time training in the city as it is the home of Turkey’s high-performance facilities.

“It was very good for us that the season started in Antalya,” he said. “It makes us excited and feel more confident [that] it’s going to be a good season. I don’t feel any pressure on me. I am going to compete to win as always.”

Gazoz finished ahead of the German pairing of Nico Schiffhauer (685) and world number nine Florian Unruh (681) in a field heavy with German archers, who have sent a team of 12 to this World Cup warm-up event in Turkey. In the recurve women’s competition, Katharina Bauer headed the field and a trio of German teammates. World number 14 and Olympic team bronze medallist Michelle Kroppen (656) and Elisa Tartler (647) seeded second and third.

“Germany is a strong country and has a strong team,” said Gazoz, when asked of his apparent opponents in Antalya. “We always expect a good performance from them, but we prefer to focus on our shots rather than our competitors.”

Reigning Indoor Archery World Series Champion Felix Wieser shot a 670 to seed 10th in the recurve men’s event, while 2022 World Archery Para Championship silver medallist Guillaume Toucoullet, who shoots using a mouthtab, posted 652 points, good for 21st and a strong endorsement of his recently-earned spot as a reserve on the able-bodied team.

In the all-Turkey compound qualification, Bostan finished (708) finished well ahead of Songul Lok (691), while Akcaoglu (709) was six clear of Yakup Yildiz (703) in the women’s and men’s events, respectively.

Germany topped the recurve mixed team (1342) and women’s team (1960) seedings, while the Turkish men, led by Gazoz, scored a combined 2041 points to finish three ahead of the Germans in recurve men’s team qualifying.

Competition at the Spring Arrows world ranking tournament continues with individual eliminations on Friday.

Top seeds: Spring Arrows 2022