Watch out! Fullerton unleashed after first major win
ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT is presented by WIAWIS.
Mathias Fullerton finally got his first major win in Hermosillo.
The 20-year-old has been threatening to bag something big ever since the pandemic – making the circuit finales in 2021 and 2022, while shooting plenty of huge scores, particularly in qualifying.
But the 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final was the event at which everything came together.
A perfect 150 in the semis, an intense final – and a shoot-off 10 to secure the first trophy of his exciting young career. (And the first Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion for Denmark in a decade, since Martin Damsbo exactly 10 years ago.)
“It honestly feels like I’m dreaming right now. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a tiny little boy,” said Mathias after the win.
Fullerton suffered from epilepsy and hand tremors as a child and young teen. But he was determined to follow in the footsteps of his father, a talented archer who competed internationally, and shot his first arrow when he was three or four years old.
A promising career as a junior golfer was put aside – because Mathias chose archery.
The Dane’s progress since his under-18 debut in 2017 has been linear. And the hard work has finally paid off.
“Archery is something unique because sometimes the best archers don’t even win,” explained compound men’s world number one Mike Schloesser. “Everybody can have a tournament of his life but being consistently good at events is something special.”
Mister Perfect was speaking before competition in Hermosillo. And he had a warning: “There’s gonna be a win somehow and once that is unleashed, he will be winning a lot.”
The first part of his prediction has come true. It won’t be long before we find out whether the second part will, too. What’s certain is that Mathias has already earnt the respect of his peers.
“He has been in the game for a lot of years as a junior and has slowly worked his way up,” said veteran teammate Damsbo.
“Mathias is determined in a completely different way, he’s almost obsessed with his shooting, and if it doesn’t work out exactly like he wants, he stays on the field until it works.”
Freshly retired US archer Braden Gellenthien stood in Fullerton’s coaching box in Hermosillo.
“He’s young still, he gets excited. His emotions get the best of him sometimes,” said Gellenthien when asked to assess how prepared the youngster was for the tournament. “He’s within himself, his form is awesome and he’s got great mentors, so he’s learning things the right way.”
Ironically, it was Braden who was probably more excited for most of the night.
Tied at 138 points with one arrow left to shoot against Prathamesh Jawkar in the final in Hermosillo, Fullerton needed a 10 to ensure the match would at least extend past regulation.
It’s the kind of arrow that separates champions. Mathias delivered.
“In the end, I could feel [my shooting] falling apart,” he said afterwards. “But I just focused on every arrow and hoped for the best.”
Jawkar forced the tiebreak. But Fullerton’s entire career had been building towards this moment.
“He shot an amazing X, which would win 99% of matches, and I just had that little advantage on him,” said Mathias, whose own shoot-off arrow landed just slightly closer to the centre of the target and was good for the victory.
“Throughout the season, I’ve learned that things will not always go your way. You have to have luck on your side and it’ll come if you just wait, you just have to keep going.”
Success, they say, breeds success.
Mathias Fullerton is the 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion – and now he’s been unleashed, there’s plenty more to come.