Mexico’s Grande and Valencia continue fine form in Antalya

Matias Grande shooting.

Matias Grande and Alejandra Valencia will be returning to a Hyundai World Cup arena for the third time as a pair this year in Antalya, Türkiye.

The Mexican athletes won gold in the recurve mixed team event in Yecheon, came fourth in Shanghai losing to India and will be competing over the bronze medal match again in the third stage this Sunday.

Buoyed by the vociferous compound archer Sebastian Garcia who shouted pro Mexican chants and songs using a microphone, Grande and Valencia guaranteed a final four place after beating Ukraine in the quarters but failed to reach the gold medal match, losing to Japan in a shoot off they lost by millimetres. 

2024 Pan American champion Grande was not gutted one bit, however. “We are proud of being one of the top teams constantly this year,” said Grande. “We are happy with this result. We didn’t make it into the gold medal match, but we are happy to fight against India for the bronze medal.”

Humble he may be but 20 year old Grande is one of the hottest young prospects in world archery, having won international medals many archers could only dream of achieving.

Add onto the Olympic pedigree of Valencia who won the mixed team bronze in Tokyo and Mexico surely have the perfect ingredients for gold in Paris.

Grande insisted though that his nation isn’t even thinking about this summer’s games. “We are focused on the present most of the time. We are thinking about Paris as if it was one more World Cup,” said Grande who was a part of the men’s team that qualified Mexico three athlete quotas in the Final Olympic Qualifier last week.

“We are not thinking about the Olympics or the result or the impact a medal could have on us. 
We are happy to stay in the process, pushing hard, keep focused during the competition not for the medals or the results.”

Yesterday’s tears from the recurve women’s team eliminations were nowhere to be seen on the face of Waka Sonoda this morning. 

She and Japanese compatriot Takaharu Furukawa avenged their nation’s Yecheon gold medal match loss to Grande and Valencia at the Centennial Archery Field.

Veteran Furukawa is set to compete in his fifth Olympic Games but despite winning bronzes in the individual and men’s team in Tokyo 2020 explained why he can do even better at Les Invalides.

“The last Olympics in my home country… I was very nervous but this time, they are in another country, so I will be relaxed.”

He will be facing the champions from Tokyo, Korea in Sunday’s final comprising of Jeon Hunyoung and Lee Wooseok, the latter featuring in that Olympic gold medal match three years ago.

Compound mixed team eliminations also took place simultaneously in the morning session. Ella Gibson and Ajay Scott of Great Britain will shoot against Adel Zhexenbinova and Andrey Tyutyun of Kazakhstan tomorrow for the gold medal.

It means Scott, in just his second year on the international circuit, will win his maiden World Cup medal tomorrow.

“It’s crazy. We shot super well today, only in my second World Cup as well. I’m super happy, super excited,” said the Brit.

Colombian legend Sara Lopez and Pablo Gomez Zuluaga will also be hoping to win a medal tomorrow against Italy in the bronze medal match. It would be their second consecutive World Cup stage bronze after winning it in Yecheon. 

The practice field in Antalya will see one more session before the weekend’s finals with the recurve eliminations take placing this afternoon.