I didn’t write yesterday because I had a lot to digest and wanted to process before I would be able to properly tell the story.
Yesterday were the elimination rounds for both visually impaired categories. Mark and I decided we’d like to take a later bus to the venue so that we could get up leisurely since our competition wouldn’t be until 5 o’clock in the afternoon. The four of us got to the venue around 11:45 and went straight to the practice range to get some practice in. Courtney worked with both of us, helping us get our timing down and focusing on what would make a strong shot.
During that time, Rubin from Belgium came with his assistant, Paul to get some practice in as well. He sat down with us for a little while and I got a chance to chat with him and catch up with what he’s been up to since I saw him 10 years ago. He told me his wife had come to the Netherlands to watch him shoot and was staying at a camel farm while she is here. We were all really amazed about that. I’ve never heard of a camel farm. I was really pleased to meet her later that evening in the dining room. She is such a sweet lady and we both were looking forward to finally meeting. She said Rubin talks so much about me and I told her that Courtney and I have enjoyed following Rubin and her on Facebook.
Anyway, after our practice we grabbed some lunch and walked around the venue for a bit. There are a lot of tents set up for venders, but a lot of them aren’t occupied yet.
Then it was time to go to the competition field to get ready for the elimination rounds. They had assigned the VI archers to targets 2 through 16. Both categories would shoot elimination rounds at the same time. A few minutes before we began, I called my mom on Facebook Messenger and showed her the range and competitors. It was so fun to share the moment with her!
We began with the 1/8 round which consisted only of Stuart from Great Brittan and Hazel from Australia from the VI-1 category. They were competing to see who would move on to the quarter finals. They were the only ones to shoot this 1/8 round because the VI-1 category had 9 competitors and so it had to be brought down to 8 for the quarter finals. Stuart won this match and moved on to the quarter finals round.
This is how elimination matches work. We shoot what are called set matches. We shoot 3 arrows in 2 minutes, stop to score those arrows, and repeat this until one archer reaches 6 points. Each time you shoot 3 arrows in 2 minutes, it is called an “end.” After the first end, whoever scores the most points gets 2 points and the loser of that end receives 0 points. If there is a tie, each archer receives 1 point. You continue to shoot these ends until an archer receives 6 points, so it could be over in 3 ends or it could take more than that. If there is a tie with both archers accruing 5 points, there is a shoot-off of one arrow each. Whoever wins the shoot-off wins the match and moves on to the semifinals. The semifinals determine who will be shooting in the gold medal round and who will be shooting in the bronze medal match. The winners move to the gold medal match and the losers move to the bronze medal match.
So we began our quarterfinal match. We were pared up with an archer based on our ranking. For example, I was ranked 4 and Daniel from Spain was ranked 5. Rubin from Belgium was ranked 1 and Stuart was ranked 8, so they were pared up. In Mark’s category, he was also ranked 4 so he was pared up with Nick from Great Brittan. Steve from Great Brittan was pared with Anette from Norway who was ranked 8.
The competition began and I won my first 2 ends. I only needed one more end to win. But I faltered and shot 2 misses and started shooting off to the left and so Daniel caught up to me. In the last end I dropped a shot into the black ring and Daniel pulled ahead and won the match. So I was out of the game. Half the field was eliminated, and the remaining 4 archers from each category moved on to the semifinals. My journey was ended just like that. Mark suffered the same fate. He and his opponent also had a good competition going. They tied for one of their ends, but Nick pulled ahead and that was that.
I will say that it was very disappointing for both of us. It’s not easy for me knowing how close I was to winning and how quickly it slipped away, but that’s the nature of competition. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. In elimination rounds, the number of competitors drops off by half in every round.
Mark and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to compete against our peers at the next international competition! It’s an incredible thing to experience and be part of.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you how the competition ended up for the VI archers. In spite of our losses, Mark and I, and our wonderful supportive spouses enjoyed watching the medal matches this afternoon. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures this time. I’ll get some together for my next post.