Best archer in Antalya? Here’s who impressed at the season opener

Dan Olaru wins first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Antalya.

Four first-time stage winners collected the individual titles at the first stage of the 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup held this past weekend in Antalya, Türkiye.

As well as medals, Penny Healey, Dan Olaru, Jozef Bosansky and Jyothi Surekha Vennam booked themselves automatic qualification spots to this season’s grand finale in Hermosillo with their career-making results. And the accompanying ranking points pushed Healey to the top of the Sanlida World Archery Rankings.

But who impressed the most? Here’s my countdown of the top three…

3. Juwaidi Mazuki, Malaysia

A first career podium for the 32-year-old from Malaysia in Antalya after defeating Mister Perfect Mike Schloesser in the bronze medal match. He didn’t go all the way – this time – but for at least 45 minutes Juwaidi looked like the best archer on the field in Türkiye.

His last two matches during Thursday afternoon’s eliminations session were back-to-back 150s. (And he shot a personal-best 714-point qualifying round on Tuesday.) Watch this gamer’s name in the lead-up to the Asian Games.

2. Elia Canales, Spain

This entry comes entirely down to one arrow. Canales hit, literally, dead-centre when she delivered the winning arrow in the shoot-off during the recurve mixed team third-place match against host Türkiye.

Sure, there’s more than a little luck that goes into one shot landing so perfectly. But what about this 21-year-old coming into her own ahead of the world championships, European Games and Olympic qualifying starting in a couple of months. She stood up under pressure – and that’s an exciting sign for Spain.

1. Penny Healey, Great Britain

All four winners were impressive – but, in context, Healey’s rise to the top has been both rapid and shown signs of sustainability. Olaru and Bosansky have been around a while, edging ever closer to a result, while Vennam’s a two-time world championship medallist already.

Healey, in the last 18 months, has won the Indoor Archery World Series, made a final four outdoors (in Paris) – and now qualified for her first Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

She’s shown the mettle to take down the biggest names (see eliminations win over An San, again in Paris, last year) and the resilience to do exactly what is necessary, no more or less, to win matches in the arena.

And she wears all the emotions on her face – bad shot, good shot, you see it all – it’s great to watch. And impressive.