Essen 2024: Top seed puts Wijler in prime position for Olympic spot

Steve Wijler during qualification in Essen.

Six quota places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be awarded at the European individual qualifier tomorrow in Essen and only a handful of countries remain in contention.

Recurve women from Austria, Estonia, Israel, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Türkiye and Ukraine will compete for three tickets on Monday morning, followed by men from Great Britain, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ukraine in the afternoon.

Each country can win a maximum of one spot per gender.

The Netherlands is in prime position to secure quotas, owning four of the 16 places in the quarterfinals of the qualifier. The squad is led by top men’s seed Steve Wijler, who scored 675 points during a windy 72-arrow 70-metre round this morning.

“I try not to make more of it because it’s an Olympic qualifier,” he said after surviving a tiebreak in his first match against Luxembourg’s Jeff Henckels by shooting a much-needed 10 to continue in this tournament, which is the penultimate place to earn Olympic tickets.

“Jeff shot very good and I needed the shoot-off. I just try to see that it’s 70 metres. I try to see it as a normal competition. I am just here to do my best.”

Wijler’s teammate Senna Roos is at the opposite end of the bracket after qualifying second with 672.

The shooting line at the European Olympic qualifier.

Should both Wijler and Roos win their last-eight matches on Monday (against Switzerland’s Keziah Chabin and Conor Hall of Great Britain) then the winners of the other two quarterfinals will also secure Olympic spots for their countries.

The same is true in the women’s event, where Dutch archers Gaby Schloesser and Quinty Roeffen feature in matches two and three.

The top two seeds feature in the other matches. Türkiye’s Elif Gokkir qualified a clear top with 665 points, followed by Austria’s Elisabeth Straka on 657. The latter shot the best women’s match on the field in the last 16, averaging more than 28 points a set to beat Olha Chebotarenko to a place in the quarterfinals.

The day went great, it couldn’t have gone better. I shot almost my best and being so far ahead gave me confidence for the matches,” said Straka. “It's gotten better and better and the last match was great.”

“My coach told me: ‘Do what you can’. No longer want it, but focus on yourself.”

Recurve men’s world number three Mauro Nespoli, who was runner-up at the last Olympics in Tokyo, is also in the last eight.

I feel a little bit pressure,” he admitted today.

Competition in Essen continues on Monday with the finals of the European continental qualifier for Paris 2024. Watch coverage with a subscription to archery+.

Quarterfinals: European Olympic qualifier

Full results on the event page. Listed in match order.

Recurve men

Watch finals live on archery+ at 14h00 CET on Monday 6 May 2024.

Recurve women

Watch finals live on archery+ at 10h00 CET on Monday 6 May 2024.