Colombian Champion Lopez begins world title defence in style

Sara Lopez

Reigning champion Sara Lopez set the early pace with an impressive display on the opening day of the Hyundai Archery World Championships in Berlin.

The Colombian, who has won five golds at this event in the past across individual and team events, was one of two archers to shoot above 700 in the compound women qualification.

Lopez’s total of 702 left her one clear of Jyothi Surekha Vennam, with both leading from the front almost throughout in worsening conditions.

“I am happy because I managed to control certain situations that I always struggle with when there is a lot of wind,” the 28-year-old said.

“On the last round, which was the hardest one due to the rain, I tried to maintain the same rhythm without stressing myself out. For me, that is better than even qualifying first, because it means I managed to control this.”

Vennam, who claimed silver behind Lopez in Yankton two years ago, admitted she had made a few mistakes in rather difficult weather conditions.

“It was tricky, the wind, and we also had rain in the last round,” the Indian said. “Overall, it was good and I am looking forward to the matches.”

Patience proved a virtue for Mexico’s Dafne Quintero, the 21-year-old improving through the competition and recording a perfect eighth end on her way to qualifying in third on 698.

“On the first half, like everyone, I wanted to shoot 10s and so I started to neglect technical elements,” she explained.

“In the second, I started over. I tried my best to calculate the time in between arrows, not hurrying any shot and focusing on technique – and 10s started to follow.”

Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Sara Lopez, Dafne Quintero

Quintero’s compatriot Ana Sofia Hernandez ensured there were two Mexican representatives in the top five with her score of 695, the pair qualifying either side of El Salvador’s Sofia Paiz.

“I just hope to continue feeling this confident and try to get better in my technique, because that way results will come by themselves,” Hernandez said.

Paiz proved very happy to compete in this event after missing the past World Championships.

“It is satisfactory for me to have made it here this time,” she said. “I tried to enjoy it as much as I could.

“Truthfully, the wind was very strong and with the rain at the end so I just focused on shooting fast and feeling secure and anchored.”

The top eight was concluded by Aditi Gopichand Swami, So Chaewon and Isabelle Carpenter, who edged out Alexis Ruiz in a shoot-off for the top eight.

“This is my highest ranking finish before at both World Championships and World Cups, so I am super happy,” Carpenter said. “I am just going to focus on my shot process. It has got me this far and I am really comfortable with how it’s going. I will just take it one arrow at a time.”

In a tricky weather, fellow Brit Ella Gibson was very disappointed with her performance. Despite swapping bows halfway through to see if she could get better results with another material, it proved definitely not a good day for her.

“I felt pretty rubbish about qualifications,” said the world number one, ranked 12th. “It did not go well at all.”

“Hopefully tomorrow will be better.”

Competition in Berlin continues with team eliminations on Wednesday.

Top seeds: Compound women

  1. Sara Lopez, Colombia – 702
  2. Jyothi Surekha Vennam, India – 701
  3. Dafne Quintero, Mexico – 698
  4. Sofia Paiz, El Salvador – 696
  5. Ana Sofia Hernandez, Mexico – 695
  6. Aditi Gopichand Swami, India – 693 50 10s 26 Xs
  7. So Chaewon, Korea – 693 48 10s 15 Xs
  8. Isabelle Carpenter, Great Britain – 692