Five archers to watch at the Santiago 2022 Pan American Championships
At the end of a long and packed outdoor season – there’s one last tournament for archers in the Americas.
Some 330-plus athletes from 37 countries are registered to compete at next week’s Pan and Para Pan American Championships in the Chilean capital of Santiago. The tournament includes both able-bodied and para events – acting as a qualifier for both the next Pan and Para Pan Am Games, which will take place in the very same city next year.
The entries list looks strong and features plenty of top athletes, although Sanlida World Archery Ranking leader Brady Ellison won’t participate.
Competition in Santiago begins on 21 November. Ahead of the first scoring arrows, here are five archers we’re watching.
1. Marcus D’Almedia
Who are they? Recurve man from Brazil.
What’s the story? D’Almedia had a breakout season. In Paris, he won his first-ever stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup – something the 24-year-old has had his eye on for years.
“I always believed a lot in myself, I worked a lot. In my mind, I had already conquered this gold years ago, it just needed to come true, I dreamed a lot about it. I was always believing in me, every day of my life,” he said following his maiden triumph. “It’s one of the best moments of my life. This is what makes the athlete stay alive and want to win the next competition.”
The Brazilian comes to Santiago as the highest-ranked recurve archer – with a chance to close this dream season with one more medal.
What’s the goal? To crown the season with one more magical performance.
- Age: 24
- World ranking: 6
- Best result: Winner at this year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Paris.
- Instagram: @disparadalmeida
2. Miguel Becerra
Who are they? Compound man from Mexico.
What’s the story? The World Games Champion was listed as one of the favourites to win the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Tlaxcala, Mexico. He eventually finished fourth. Two months earlier, he collected silver at the circuit stage in Medellin. He’s got one last chance to collect a second win to pair with that big victory in Birmingham.
“There was a lot of work behind that medal. It is the best day of my life. I was shaking a lot but I knew I had to do the same work that I did in all the competitions,” he said when that medal was hung around his neck.
What’s the goal? Another major title in 2022.
- Age: 22
- World ranking: 5
- Best result: Reigning World Games Champion.
- Instagram: @migue.becerrarivas
3. Mariana Zuniga
Who are they? Compound woman from Chile.
What’s the story? This will be a special event for Zuniga, who is shooting in front of a home crowd in two events. The 20-year-old Chilean entered both the able-bodied and para competitions and should be reckoned with in both of them.
Mariana made an outstanding debut at the Paralympics last summer in Tokyo, taking silver after losing only to Phoebe Paterson Pine in the final – despite being the first-ever archer from Chile to appear at the event. After Pine withdrew from the World Games – she received a spot as Paralympic Champion – Zuniga filled it, delivering a solid performance in her able-bodied international debut.
The spotlight will be on the local hero in Santiago.
“It’s so important for me because it happens in my country. I will have an opportunity to compete in conditions which I know. And I will be able to invite my family, my friends, all my close people to watch me there,” she said.
What’s the goal? Entertain the home crowd.
- Age: 20
- World ranking: 5 (para)/94 (able-bodied)
- Best result: Runner-up at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
- Instagram: @mariana_archery
4. Casey Kaufhold
Who are they? Recurve woman from the USA.
What’s the story? The youngest out of our five to watch, but by no means the least experienced. At the age of 18, she has already taken an individual silver at the World Archery Championships and four medals at the different stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup – including her first gold in the mixed team event earlier this year in Paris.
She currently sits fifth in the Sanlida World Archery Ranking. In July, she climbed even to third place – her career best… so far.
Kaufhold’s individual performances this year were extremely consistent. The young US archer didn’t drop out of the top 10 at any of the three Hyundai Archery World Cup stages in which she took part: ninth in Gwangju and then fifth in Paris and Medellin.
Her performance at last year’s worlds showed her medal quality at major events.
What’s the goal? To win her second individual medal at a championship event.
- Age: 18
- World ranking: 5
- Best result: Runner-up at the Yankton 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.
- Instagram: @crazy.casey.04
5. Nicholas D’Amour
Who are they? Recurve man from the US Virgin Islands.
What’s the story? D'Amour missed a final four appearance on the Hyundai Archery World Cup this season. He made the quarterfinals only at the last stage in Medellin – and didn’t qualify for the Final in Tlaxcala. Knowing his desire to succeed just one year removed from his dramatic breakout, the disappointing results will only serve to make him immensely motivated.
And there are more reasons to watch him at these Pan Am Championships. He currently sits in eighth in the Sanlida World Archery Ranking – the second highest among all the recurve men present in Santiago. And the 21-year-old won the last continental competition he entered, the Copa Merengue.
What’s the goal? Finish the year strong.
- Age: 21
- World ranking: 8
- Best result: Three consecutive top-six finishes on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit in 2021.