Third time lucky? Ellison seeds top ahead of shot at World Games gold

Brady Ellison at the 2022 World Games

Brady Ellison and Elisa Tartler took top seeds today after recurve qualifying at the World Games. Archers shot a 24-target – 12 unmarked followed by 12 marked – course set around Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

Ellison trailed Florian Unruh by four points after the unmarked morning but dominated the afternoon session, scoring top by 13, to jump into the lead. Bryony Pitman, meanwhile, did just enough to stay ahead of Chiara Rebagliati and book the second seed in the recurve women’s event. It’s a critical result as all four archers – the top two men and women – have now secured direct spots in the final fours.

“I shot pretty good [but] I was not really happy on the unmarked targets,” said the USA’s Ellison about the morning session, in which the distance to each target is not given to the athletes. “I made a couple of mental mistakes, but I shot really good on the marked [ones]. I played a lot of things smart.”

The top two qualifiers in each event shoot a show match on Monday morning, with the winner choosing which of the two pools (A or B) they will face in the semifinals. The remainder of the archers then compete in those elimination pools, which see the lowest-ranked archer compete against the next-lowest ranked and the winner surviving to shoot against the next lowest-ranked, and so on until only one archer remains in each pool.

Avoiding the shoot-up was particularly important for at least one archer today.

“I was silver twice at the World Games so I’d truly like to win,” said Ellison, who was runner-up in 2013 and 2017. “I still have a couple of things to figure out for the final but I shot a lot of sixes on the marked course.”

The eliminations and finals matches will all take place on marked targets.

If Brady has one advantage in his form on the known distances, he may have another in the home supporters, who appeared in large numbers for qualifying on Sunday. There were plenty of places set around the course in Avondale Park for spectators to watch, among them Ellison’s young son Ty and his wife Toja.

“It has been good and people have been awesome, I really liked that on this course we had a lot of targets that people could follow us. It was pretty cool,” said the 33-year-old.

“It was the first time the crowd has followed. Every time we had our shooting done they clapped. Good, bad, it did not matter. They cheered every group. It was really awesome having a crowd like that. I am pretty excited for the final venue because this crowd is going to light up here.”

Florian Unruh did not feel well during the round. He’s now got time to recover before the final four matches on Tuesday.

“I am satisfied,” he said. “It got a little bit harder in the afternoon with my sickness but I pushed through. It’s just one match tomorrow morning and I am safe for the semifinals.”

At the halfway point in the course, after the 12 unmarked targets, German archers held both the top seeds.

But while Unruh fell away in the second half, Elisa Tartler went best of the women over the marked 12 targets in the afternoon, too. She was a comfortable 13 points up on second-seed Bryony Pitman by the end of the day with 366.

Germany's Elisa Tartler on the recurve field course at The World Games 2022

This is Tartler’s first international field archery event.

“I am really happy,” said the world number 54. “I tried to shoot 15 on average and it was very close until the last target. I am very happy with my unmarked and marked sessions.”

Archers shoot three arrows per target, with a maximum score of six per arrow available – 18 per target. Tartler’s maths was a little off as she did hit her 15-point target, averaging 15.25 for the day.

“It was not like I expected such a result but I hoped for it,” added Tartler. “I thought that I would shoot a little bit less because of nervousness, but I did quite well.”

The 23-year-old now needs just one more match win in Alabama to secure her first international individual medal – and two to take the World Games title.

“It is not that I have a medal safe. I can still be fourth. Maybe I will be more relieved after the semifinal if I win,” she said.

Tartler and Pitman will shoot on Monday morning in their show match to define their paths to the final. The winner of that match will choose which pool they will face in the smeifinals. The British archer has more experience in the discipline of field archery – and thought she left points on the course on Sunday.

“The marked round could have definitely been better,” said the world number five. “There were moments when I was really good and then not so good. But I am very happy. [It’s] only two matches to get a medal.”

Competition at the World Games continues with recurve eliminations on Monday. 

Top seeds: Recurve men

Top two seeds prequalify for final four. Unmarked/marked scores given in brackets.

  1. Brady Ellison, USA – 388 (192/196)
  2. Florian Unruh, Germany – 379 (196/183)
  3. Patrick Huston, Great Britain – 371 (188/183)
  4. Marco Morello, Italy – 363 (188/175)

Top seeds: Recurve women

Top two seeds prequalify for final four. Unmarked/marked scores given in brackets.

  1. Elisa Tartler, Germany – 366 (186/180)
  2. Bryony Pitman, Great Britain – 353 (180/173)
  3. Chiara Rebagliati, Italy – 352 (174/178)
  4. Jindriska Vaneckova, Czech Republic – 335 (169/166)