Gibson top woman as three compound men tie on 599 at GT Open

Ella Gibson

Ella Gibson (595) and Penny Healey (590) were outright top qualifiers at the GT Open in Strassen as the pole positions in both the men’s competitions were decided in coin tosses.

Brady Ellison and Steve Wijler both shot 596 to lead the 105 recurve men competing. Ellison was awarded the top seed.

There was a three-way tie in the compound men’s event after Mathias Fullerton, Stephan Hansen and Nicolas Girard each dropped only a point over the 60-arrow 18-metre round. (Fourteen archers shot 593-plus.) Fullerton and Girard were both on the podium at the season opener last month in Lausanne, but Hansen would slot into the top qualifier spot in the bracket here in Strassen.

No such confusion here for top compound woman Gibson, who won the GT Open last season, when she beat Lisell Jaatma in the final.

“I love GT. It’s always one of my favourite places,” she said after finishing a qualification round that saw her come in a clear three points up on Sophie Dodemont (593). “I’m happy with my shooting. I always feel like there could be more, but it was pretty steady.”

“Of course, everyone wants to win but I never expect that for myself. There are so many great shooters here. I just want to be able to do my thing and walk away knowing I’ve shot well.”

Paige Pearce qualified third with 591 and Jaatma fourth on 589.

Judge at GT Open

Luck was on Hansen’s side during the coin toss as he beat out Girard and Fullerton to pole.

But it was a position that the 28-year-old didn’t feel he ever needed to be in.

“I missed a point that I didn’t really want to miss because I was shooting good enough for a 600 today, but it happens,” said Stephan. “When you get close of course you want to get it, but I was shooting pretty freely and I just didn’t really care too much.”

Qualification at the Guillaume Tell archery club (the GT of GT Open) was split across four sessions, two each on Friday and Saturday.

The top 32s in each category advanced to the early phases of matchplay on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m just gonna take the first match and see how it goes. It’s indoor – everybody can shoot a 150 – so it’s not that easy, but I’m just gonna do my own game and just shoot as good as I can,” said Hansen prior to eliminations, in a vast understatement of the quality on offer here in Strassen.

Stephan, Girard, and Fullerton all survived the two rounds of head-to-heads, as did the other three top seeds.

But there were casualties. The third and fourth qualifiers in the recurve men’s competition, Alen Remar and Clement Jacquey, were both eliminated before the business end of the bracket on Sunday morning.

Marie Horackova

Reigning World Archery Champion Marie Horackova has only been seen once outside of her home Czech Republic since winning her major title in August – she came fourth at the European field in September – but seems set on proving that result was no fluke.

She qualified second to 2022 Indoor Archery World Series Champion Penny Healey.

Only three recurve women – Healey (590), Horackova (586) and Casey Kaufhold (584) – broke 580 points. Look at those three, plus Lausanne winner Denisa Barankova, as likely favourites when they enter the last eight of eliminations tomorrow. (All four won their first two matches.)

Brady Ellison has not shot this well indoors since 2017.

His perfect second half bolstered a charge that saw him tie Steve Wijler on 596 over the 60 arrows – Wijler dropped two in the first half, two in the second – and post his best 18-metre qualifying since he shot the current 599-point world record in Nîmes.

The GT Open is the second event on the 2024 Indoor Archery World Series after October’s Lausanne Challenge.

Alongside the senior competition, there is a standalone under-21 tournament that offers ranking points towards the second Indoor Archery World Series Finals, which will take place at the penultimate leg of the season in France.

Competition at the GT Open continues with quarterfinals to finals on Sunday in Strassen. 

Top seeds: GT Open