Next stop: Nîmes

Reo Wilde, hot off the back of his win in Singapore, declared earlier in January, “I want to win Nîmes this time,” as it’s one of the few competitions the world number one hasn’t yet won. That was until this year, when he beat France’s own and home crowd favourite Pierre-Julien Deloche to the title. Sebastian Rohrberg beat double European champion Rick Van der Ven in men’s recurve, while Céline Schobinger of Switzerland took her first international title in women’s recurve. In women’s compound, Naomi Jones took the Nîmes title to add to her Face2Face and Back2Back indoor wins this season.

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Despite Reo Wilde’s win, it was Norway’s Njaal Aamaas who set the standard in qualifying, topping the ranking tables with a 597 after hitting a perfect 300 on the second day. Denmark’s Martin Damsbo matched that overall score for second place, with Dietmar Trillus rounding out the top three compound men. Sergio Pangi of Italy nearly ended Reo Wilde’s hopes of winning this tournament, as he dropped only two points throughout his entire run of head-to-head matches, taking Wilde to a 5-5 draw for the shoot-off. Both shot a 10, but it was Reo who advanced to meet Aamaas in the semi-final. Level at 4-4, Wilde stayed cool to win the final set and take the match, where he met Pierre-Julien Deloche. Deloche, after netting a new national record of 598 in the qualifying round, had taken out two other top American competitors in Braden Gellenthien and Jesse Broadwater to get to the final, but the form he’d showed in previous rounds just didn’t seem to be there for the last match. A 28, 29, 29, 28 from him allowed Reo Wilde to fulfil his ambition and become the new Nîmes champion with a 30, 30, 29, 29.

Despite impressive form in the earlier competition – especially so considering he made the switch from recurve to compound a little over a year ago – Njaal Aamaas couldn’t quite keep it up against Jesse Broadwater in the third-place match. Broadwater only dropped one point, meaning there was little Aamaas could do but settle for fourth, finishing 7-3.

01_DA1_1970 copyLast year’s compound champion Danielle Brown couldn’t make it two in a row, after losing out in the first round of head-to-heads to Pascale Lebeque. Naomi Jones started her knockout campaign by qualifying 11th, where she went on to beat compatriot Nichola Simpson 6-4, before making the semi-final after a shoot-off against Jelenna Babinina that went 10-9 in her favour. A straight-set victory over Sandrine Vanionant-Frangilli denied the crowd the chance to see another home finalist, as Italy’s Marcella Tonioli was the other archer to make it all the way. The final started in Tonioli’s favour, with the Italian pulling 4-2 ahead. Jones took the fourth set to draw level at 4-4, before shooting a 29 to beat Tonioli’s 28 and round out the match with the victory.

Sandrine Vandionant-Frangilli took on Belgium’s Gladys Willems, the highest qualifier to make it to the semi-final stages, for the bronze match. Vandionant took an early lead with a perfect 30 in the first set, but Willems drew the second and won the third to pull it back to 3-3. They won one more set apiece, taking it to a shoot-off. A 10 from Vandionant-Fragilli beat a nine from her opponent, giving her the last podium spot.

04_DA1_1804 copyEuropean championship-winning teammates Sjef Van den Berg and Rick Van der Ven made it a one-two in the qualifying tables for men’s recurve, with last year’s champion Brady Ellison and Singapore stage winner Jean-Charles Valladont close behind. Van den Berg was knocked out in the first round by 32-seed Javier Gonzales Torres, but Van der Ven fared better, never dropping below a set score of 28 to secure himself a place in the semi-finals. Brady Ellison was stopped by Spain’s Elias Cuesta, who went 4-0 ahead against the American only to have to fight to the finish as two perfect set scores from Ellison brought it back to 4-4 going into the final set. It was Cuesta who never left the 10 this time, putting him through to the semi-final round. The other semi- featured Germany’s Sebastian Rohrberg, indoor world champion in 2007, who came from an unassuming 17th qualifying place to make the cut to the last four. joining him was Italy’s Alberto Zagami, whgo had taken out Olympic gold medallist Michele Frangilli to get there. Zagami put up a good show against Rohrberg, taking the match to a shoot-off at 5-all, but Rohrberg’s 10 was closer to the centre.

Sebasian Rohrberg stayed strong in the final against Rick Van der Ven, coming back from a wobbly second set to win the match with a confident 6-2. Elias Cuesta recovered from his semi-final defeat to take third place from Alberto Zagami 6-2.

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In the women’s recurve division, five- time world indoor champion and Olympic veteran Natalia Valeeva was after her first Nîmes title, but it would prove not to be her year once again. She qualified second, and despatched two French and an Italian archer before meeting last year’s champion Lisa Unruh of Germany in the semi-final round. Unrug was denied the chance to defend her title by Valeeva, as despite drawing three sets, Valeeva just had the edge on the other two, giving her the all-important set points she needed to progress 7-3.

Céline Schobinger from Switzerland qualified fifth, and shot her way past two Olympians in Pia Lionetti and Ksenia Perova on her way to the semis. She had a close call in her semi-final match though, as Min Jung Kim of Korea fought back after going 5-1 down to draw level at 5-5 in order to force a shoot-off. Both archers shot a ten, but Schobinger’s was the closer, putting her through to the last match.

Valeeva started the final in fine style, putting in a perfect 30 to open the scoring, but she dropped vital points in the next two sets, allowing Schobinger to win them both and pull 4-2 ahead. Another 30 from Valeeva brought her level, but in the final set she dropped an arrow into the nine, while Schobinger never left the 10 and proceeded to claim her first international tournament victory.

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Archers who finished in the top 16 in each category will have received ranking points that go towards earning a place in the Indoor World Cup Final. There is one more chance to earn any final ranking points, at the famous Vegas shoot, which takes place on 8-10 February. The 16 archers in each division with the most ranking points will be entered into the knockout final.






Compound Men

Reo Wilde (USA)

Pierre-Julien Deloche (France)

Jesse Broadwater (USA)

Compound Women

Naomi Jones (GBR)

Marcella Tonioli (Italy)

Sandrine Vandionant-Frangilli (France)

Recurve Men

Sebastian Rohrberg (Germany)

Rick Van der Ven (Netherlands)

Elias Cuesta (Spain)

Recurve Women

Céline Schobinger (Switzerland)

Natalia Valeeva (Italy)

Min Jung Kim (Korea)

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