More professional than ever – D’Almeida ahead of big year

Marcus D'Almeida at Yankton 2021

It’s exciting to see Marcus D’Almeida, the first Brazilian recurver to podium at the worlds, return to international action for the Brazilian team’s first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the season in Gwangju this week. So exciting, in fact, that he was named one of five archers to watch in Korea.

Another interested party is Dutch Olympian Sjef van den Berg

The former recurve men’s world number two said: “After seeing him perform very, very well [at last year’s championships] in Yankton, I am excited to see how he has gotten through the winter season. He is a very hard worker and I am curious to see if it pays off again.”

For the first time since his breakout season in 2014, the Brazilian archer is considered back in the international elite.

“I’m very excited to be in Korea,” said the 24-year-old, who dedicated his silver medal at the worlds to his grandmother.

“We have a new coach, new people in the team, and I believe in good results. I have not competed in Asia since 2015 and this World Cup stage is on the other side of the world, but we arrived a few days early [to prepare].”

That new coach for the Brazilian squad is Alberto Zagami, who took up the lead role in January.

Prior to that, Zagami was part of the management team at Archery GB for five years, most recently as their assistant Olympic coach, and also has experience working in South Africa, Thailand and Italy.

He’s already having a positive effect, according to Marcus, whose thoughts are already turning towards medal success in 2022.

“Actually, my summer [December to March] was very good and we improved a lot in Brazil with the arrival of Alberto,” said D’Almeida. “I just got more excited for this season. I believe that in the best possible way we trained a lot, we increased our training camps in Brazil and we are more professional than ever.”

Ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Marcus was touted as Brazil’s greatest hope, particularly after finishing second at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final back in 2014.

He has admitted in the past that the domestic pressure – which he had to deal with at such a young age – got to him. He’s now matured, shooting the best arrows of his life and refocused on returning to the podium.

“It would be a very big achievement in my career,” he added about any possibility of making the final in Gwangju. “I still don’t have a gold medal in the World Cup.”

Competition in Gwangju starts with compound qualifying on Tuesday.