Cavic delivers shoot-up shock as Huston awaits semi with ‘Mr Ellison’

Patrick Huston at the 2022 World Games

Archers from Great Britain, Italy and Slovenia booked slots in the recurve final fours after the shoot-up elimination pools in the parching heat at Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama, USA on Monday.

Slovenia’s Urska Cavic delivered the performance of the day, winning three matches to scythe through her pool from the eighth seed and book her slot in the recurve women’s semifinals alongside Italian archer Chiara Rebagliati. Germany’s Elisa Tartler and Brit Bryony Pitman were prequalified as the top two seeds.

The third and fourth qualifiers in the men’s event, Britain’s Patrick Huston and Italy’s Marco Morello, survived their lone pool matches to complete the semifinal line-up with back-to-back World Games runner-up Brady Ellison and Germany’s Florian Unruh

“I was hopeful of coming away with a medal and I am in a good place so far for that,” said Huston after he won his match against Sweden’s Jonathan Andersson (97-91).

“Apart from the first target, Jonathan shot great and it is great to compete against one of my best mates on the circuit.”

The recurve events at the World Games are in the discipline of field archery. Athletes shoot a qualifying round before being split into pools for eliminations, in which the bottom seed in the pool shoots a match against the next-lowest ranked with the winner surviving to face the next-lowest ranked, and so on until only one archer from each pool remains. Those pool winners join the top two qualifiers in the final four.

After seeding third with 371 points for the 12 marked and 12 unmarked targets, Huston waited all day to find out his opponent for his one match.

His Swedish opponent had practice on the course, having seeded seventh. Their match would be Andersson’s third in a row. But Huston had the quality to outweigh the experience – and the win sets Huston up with a semifinal against top seed Brady Ellison (388), who lost an early morning show match against second seed Florian Unruh (379) to decide which pool winner they would face in the final four.

“It will be the first time I will shoot against Mr Ellison. I am excited to do that. I know my score and it is definitely competitive with him,” said Huston, who has been enjoying his time out on the field course for the first time internationally in 2022. “This year I have been putting the best scores I have ever shot in field. My fitness and technique have come on really nicely. I had a little shoulder injury this year but I progress my fitness slowly and I am fairly confident.”

Most of the recurve men competing at this event are also regulars on the Hyundai Archery World Cup – a target archery circuit.

“There are so many challenges, so many things to think about and so many ways of trying to compete with your opponent. I just love it. It is my favourite type of archery. Field archery is the best archery,” said Huston.

“To come to the World Games and make it to the top four is a nice achievement. I am happy.”

Unruh, who did not feel well physically during the qualifying, defeated Ellison, 99-90, for the right to choose his semifinal match-up. He selected pool B, teeing up a rematch of the semifinal at the 2021 European Field Archery Championships with Morello.

“It can be a good match,” said the Italian fourth seed, who shot 363 points during qualifying. “We had a clash in the semifinal at the European Championships and he won by one point so I have to take my revenge and enjoy the match.”

Morello was ahead from the first target of his match against Alen Remar of Croatia, winning it 87-81.

“I am very happy because it was a hard competition for me. It is very hot. In the end, I could handle it,” he said. “It is difficult because you have to enter the match immediately and it is not easy because you have a very good opponent. It is a pleasure for me to compete against archers like Alen.”

Urska Cavic shooting at the 2022 World Games

Urska Cavic was a late replacement at these World Games. Her Slovenian teammate, Ana Umer, was on the late entry list.

The substitute has, so far, been the surprise of the tournament. She won three matches in the sweltering heat after her eighth seed saw her start in the second round of the pool matches at 10h30 in the morning. Two hours later she had her ticket into the semifinals, having beaten Valentine de Giuli, Laurena Villard and, finally, now very familiar with the course, fourth qualifier Jindriska Vaneckova .

“I am really happy. I feel like this is my season. We will see [on Tuesday],” said Cavic. “I was nervous before the first match, but once I got used to the field, it just went. It is like in Cortina (2018 World Archery Field Championships), the one who shot more matches had big advantage. And I had that advantage.”

“I already did what I wanted to do, but obviously I want to win gold. That is the goal.”

In the recurve women’s show match which opened the session, Bryony Pitman defeated top seed Elisa Tartler and chose pool B. She will then take on Cavic in the final four, while Tartler will shoot against field archery specialist Chiara Rebagliati

“It is difficult because there are six targets so it is different and you have to keep calm for a long time. I did it,” said Rebagliati, who beat the USA’s Molly Nugent, 92-82, in her eliminations match. “I am very happy. I shoot very well.”

Rebagliati is the reigning European field champion and has previous youth golds at the world field. Shooting at her debut World Games in 2022, she is now just two matches away from the win.

“I am very happy to get here and tomorrow there will be another day,” said Rebagliati. “She [Tartler] is a strong archer but I will try to do my best.”

Competition at the World Games continues on Tuesday with the recurve final fours in the afternoon.

Final fours: 2022 World Games

The recurve medal matches are scheduled for Tuesday 12 July. The archers are listed in semifinal pairs and their seed is given in brackets.

Recurve men

Recurve women