Gibson on Tlaxcala: Incredible but bittersweet

Ella Gibson at the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Tlaxcala.

Reigning compound women’s world number one Ella Gibson capped her breakout season with a silver medal at the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Tlaxcala.

It was the first time this year on the circuit that the 22-year-old took anything less than individual gold.

“I’m pretty happy with my performance,” says Gibson. “It was my first and I truly didn’t expect to win it, so coming back with a silver medal was incredible, although bittersweet.”

“It’s really difficult to prepare for something you have never done and although I did try as best I could, I’m sure it will be easier next time knowing what it is like,” she adds.

It is difficult to overstate how good Gibson has been this year – and how quickly she’s got to stratospheric levels of performance.

As well as winning all three stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in which she competed, the Brit has scored points at an unprecedented rate for the 50-metre era. Her 9.79 points-per-arrow average is an all-time high for a compound woman through a full season.

Just two years ago, Ella was internationally unknown.

But last month in Tlaxcala, she was signing autographs for hours alongside the woman she faced in the final, Sara Lopez, the now-seven-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion and the winningest archer in the tour’s history.

“It was one of the most incredible experiences. The venue, the people and the whole tournament was nothing like I have ever experienced,” says Gibson.

With her initial success coming during the unusual post-pandemic year of 2021 and victories in front of smaller crowds at circuit stages in 2022, the event in Mexico marked the first time the world number one would face the glaring spotlight of a multi-thousand-strong crowd.

It’s an atmosphere that Lopez, too, struggled with in her season finale debut in Paris in 2013.

“I know I’ll be in many more and will win when I feel ready and have the experience behind me,” says Gibson.