Yamrom realises potential with late-season win at Europeans

Shamai Yamrom became European indoor champion 2024 in Croatia.


Shamai Yamrom’s potential has been an open secret.

On Sunday in Varaždin, the 18-year-old realised his first big result, winning the continental compound men’s title at the European indoor championships.

“It’s a profound milestone in my career especially given the challenges of the season,” he said afterwards. “This victory… symbolises a personal and emotional achievement that marks a new chapter in my career.”

“One which I am early anticipating.”

Yamrom made his international debut for Israel as an under-18 in 2019 and stepped up to the under-21 category in 2022, the same year in which he began to appear with the senior squad, too.

Despite a lack of experience, he made repeated deep runs – several campaigns that almost got there.

Consistent last 16s, top seed at the world youth championships, multiple second places at major youth tournaments.

So much potential… but something was holding him back.

Shamai Yamrom on top of the podium at 2024 European indoors.

“I tend to overthink things and sometimes I get a little bit hung up on a bad result or a bad shot,” he said. “It is something I have been struggling with for a while.”

Still, Yamrom had high hopes coming into the 2024 Indoor Archery World Series circuit.

He’d delivered a first-ever world championship medal for Israel, the under-21 compound mixed team silver at the World Archery Youth Championships the previous July.

But his 18-metre season seemed to go off the rails.

Shamai started with a sixth place at the Lausanne Challenge, dropped to 17th at the GT Open and 35th in Nîmes – failing to make the matchplay cut – with a further few dropped points in Vegas putting him out of contention for the Indoor Archery World Series Finals.

“The thought was, go to more tournaments, increase the chance of getting a result I feel like I can,” he said. The packed schedule had the opposite effect.

Until the season saver: Varaždin.

Fourth after qualifying with 596 points, three behind reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion Mathias Fullerton, the promising youngster shot matches of 149, 149 and then 150 points, the latter to beat Martin Damsbo in the semifinals.

A two-point win over Adrien Gontier, 148-146, in the final and Yamrom Shamai had his breakthrough result.

Shamai Yamrom and Romi Maymon at Limerick 2023 World Archery Youth Championships.

Compound archery – particularly over 18 metres – is a game of millimetres. One point at the wrong, or right, time can change everything.

Dealing with those minute fluctuations is perhaps the hardest thing.

“I have a bad tendency of changing things when I’m not shooting at the level I want to,” he said.

That approach cut short his campaign at last year’s European Games.

“I started off well in qualifications, but I felt like I could get something better, or something wasn’t optimised so I just started playing with my form and pulling,” he said. Yamrom lost in the quarterfinals to Lukasz Przybylski, who would become a surprise world silver medallist a month later in Berlin.

But he’s learning a more level-headed attitude, one that might help secure him a place in the sport’s cadre of high-flying young prospects.

“In a way, I feel pressure to get to the same peaks, same results they did at my age or the same results they are getting now when I get to their age,” said Shamai, referencing peers like Mathias Fullerton and Tim Jevsnik.

“I think it’s amazing how the level is rising and I’m trying to be a part of that wave of archery that’s really pushing towards perfection.”

Shamai Yamrom U21 silver medallist at 2022 European indoors.

Ahead of the European indoors, Shamrom stopped chasing results.

“My focus shifted from relentlessly ‘fixing’ and ‘improving’ my technique to embracing and maximising my existing shot style,” Shamai explained. “The key… was the commitment to perform well with the technique I already built, rather than constantly seeking ‘improvement’. 

“This mindset shift proved crucial.”

Maintaining it through the upcoming outdoor schedule will be key.

“I’m looking to get my name out there and start a solid career in archery,” he said. Up next? “It’s going to be trying to get into the World Games.”

Qualification for the event in Chengdu in 2025, the multisport pinnacle for compound and the discipline of field archery, begins with the European Archery Championships in Essen – but there are other routes to compete.

“The goal every season is to progress,” added Yamrom.

“At the end of the day, I’m able to do what I love.”