Sibling rivalry holds key to success for Lisell and Robin Jaatma

Lisell and Robin Jäätma hit brilliant form in 2022, particularly as a pair.

They won a silver medal together in the compound mixed team event at the European Archery Championships in Munich and were also runners-up at the second stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Gwangju

The Estonian pair believe they are successful because, not in spite of, the fact that they are siblings.

“I think we are a great team because we know each other so well,” said Lisell. “Robin can tell when I get nervous, or if I don’t shoot well he will shoot better and he knows what to say to me.”

Sibling rivalry has always helped Robin, 22, and Lisell, 23, better themselves.

“I try to keep it really simple in my head and not overthink it and so far it has worked,” Robin added. “In pressure situations, I am usually really relaxed and can make good shots.”

The pair owe their brilliance with bow in hand to their mother, who encouraged them to take up the sport in their youth.

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“I think [Lisell] was way better than me when we were younger,” said Robin. “I found that difficult. I watched her shoot but didn’t ask questions. If I liked something I tried to do it myself.”  

“I wasn’t really interested at first because Estonian competitions are boring. I only found it interesting when I went abroad and thought, ‘I want to win internationally’, so that’s when I started training more.”  

To begin with, the duo would compete against each other in their hometown of Türi – which has a population of approximately 10,000 – until Lisell required a teammate.

Robin was not initially at the front of the queue and had to earn the right to compete alongside his sister.

But once he was established as Estonia’s top man in the division, forming a partnership was an easy decision.

A first international gold followed at the World University Games in 2019, one which Lisell considers among their best performances as a team. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought progress to a halt, and the Jaatmas took time to find their rhythm again, enduring a difficult 2021.

“It was the year when we always lost in the quarterfinals,” recalled Lisell. “We were always fifth or sixth and it wasn’t a good feeling to miss out on the semifinals.”

Robin finished third at the worlds at the end of that year – before myriad medals followed in 2022. Both are eager to had to the haul in 2023 but that is not their sole focus, with both also finding progress away from the range. 

Lisell studied cosmetology and started a beauty salon, in which she works when not shooting.

“It gives my mind some space from archery,” she said. “I started when COVID hit as I had too much free time so started practising and I have always liked everything beauty related.” 

Robin is a sports fanatic who plays disc golf and darts.

“I really like sports where you have to be precise,” he said. “I like that they are individual sports – if you are good you can compete with anyone, if not you are going to lose.”

The siblings, Robin and Lisell, will compete at the second stage of the 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai next week, with eyes on more podiums.

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