Becerra tops qualifying at Copa Merengue

Miguel Becerra of Mexico

World number five Miguel Becerra of Mexico was the biggest name to top qualifying at the Copa Merengue in the Dominican Republic yesterday.

His score of 704 just edged out his teammate Rodrigo Olvera by a single point over the compound men’s round. Paola Ramirez of Puerto Rico tied with the host’s Carlina Guzman on 687 to lead the compound women’s field – but Ramirez had more 10s – while Cuba’s Hugo Franco and Brazil’s Sarah Nikitin led the recurves with 668 and 632, respectively. 

The seeding also puts Becerra, the reigning World Games Champion, in pole position for the secondary tournament that will award the lone available Pan Am Games spot on Friday – a key goal for many teams this week. 

“The main objective is obviously to get the place we need for the Pan Am Games. It’s a competition I’ve wanted to be a part of ever since they opened it up to compound bows, and it’s a super-important competition both for me and for Mexico,” said the 22-year-old.

“I feel some pressure here. It is very important to start the outdoor season on the right foot – but what better way than to take a Pan American Games place for my country.”

Conditions in the Parque del Este were breezy – and hot.

“I felt comfortable,” said Miguel. “The most important thing in difficult wind is to stay comfortable, work with a good rhythm and not worry too much about the 10s.”

recurve qualifying

There are just two quota places for Santiago 2023 available in the compound events in Santo Domingo – one for compound men and one for compound women – but many more are on offer in the recurve competitions.

Two teams per gender will secure full tickets on Friday at the Copa Merengue, with several individual spots distributed after that.

There are 11 recurve men’s teams and nine recurve women’s teams competing for the quotas this week.

Courtesy of top individual qualifier Hugo Franco, with support from third seed Javier Vega, Cuba’s recurve men find themselves in a favourable position ahead of matchplay, occupying the number one position on both the Copa Merengue and Pan Am qualifier leaderboards.

Franco’s individual total of 668 was a full 19 points clear of Rio 2016 Olympian Ricardo Soto of Chile, who had 649.

Brazil’s recurve women’s team, led by its own top individual seed Sarah Nikitin, also qualified top in the Copa Merengue – but as Brazil already has a full three-athlete quota for the Pan Am Games, the squad won’t need to compete for spots on Friday. Instead, it is Venezuela that takes pole for that bracket.

Recurve archery has featured at the Pan American Games since 1979. Compound was added in 2019 – both individual and mixed team events – when Sara Lopez and Roberto Hernandez became the first champions. The 2023 edition is the first to feature the compound doubles event, which is teams of two archers of the same gender.

Competition continues at the Copa Merengue on Thursday with eliminations.

Top seeds: Copa Merengue 2023