World #1 D’Almeida pips Olympic Champ Gazoz over Spring Arrows qualifying

Marcus D’Almeida shooting in Antalya.

Reigning world number one Marcus D’Almeida shot one point more than Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz – 666 to 665 – to secure the top seed in the recurve men’s event at the Spring Arrows, the preseason world ranking event in Antalya, Türkiye.

“It was a cut-throat competition between us all morning,” said Gazoz, shooting on his home competition range. “I guess he thinks the same.”

“May the best man win.”

In terrifically windy conditions, the breeze twisting and swirling through the large permanent field in the outskirts of the Mediterranean coastal city, Gazoz made a late charge to steal pole – but shot a seven in the last series.

“My performance was good, except two arrows,” he said, before praising the opportunity to compete against opponents of a high standard in the preseason.

“It’s important but more than that it is exciting. It makes us ambitious to see each others’ performances during these kinds of weather conditions.”

Gazoz was long cited as an up-and-coming talent before realising his phenomenal potential when he won Türkiye’s first-ever Olympic archery medal by taking individual gold in Tokyo in 2021.

D’Almeida has occupied the top spot in the Sanlida World Archery Rankings since early February. For the first time in his career, the 25-year-old has been shooting the Indoor Archery world Series. It’s because those 18-metre events now also offer world ranking points.

Make no mistake, though, it’s outdoors and 70 metres at which both D’Almeida – the runner-up at the last world championships – and Gazoz have their sights firmly set.

“It’s a great start to the season,” said Marcus, complementary of the man beside him on the leaderboard. “Mete is a very good athlete. It’s hard to stay in competition with him. He’s a very good archer and it’s very good for my level to have him to compete against.”

Spain’s Elia Canales was top scorer in the recurve women’s event, shooting 635 out of the possible 720 points for the 72-arrow 70-metre round. It was 12 more than Moldovan second seed Alexandra Mirca.

“I just focused on my process,” said Canales, who shot a world record for double qualification in Spain last week. “Of course, it’s more fun to shoot high scores but what’s important to accept the result.”

“It’s been a long time since I shot with this wind and it’s actually exciting.”

Competition continues tomorrow in Antalya with individual eliminations and the conclusion of the small compound events, which features mostly Turkish archers.

Photos courtesy Saygin Akinci. Quotes courtesy Öykü Ergeç. 

Top seeds: 2023 Spring Arrows