Today was the elimination rounds for mixed teams and teams. A mixed team consists of two archers, one male and one female, in the same classification. Teams consist of three archers of the same gender and classification. Visually impaired category doesn’t shoot team rounds yet. There aren’t enough of us to make up full teams yet. The mixed teams shot in the morning. Two countries are paired according to their rankings from the qualifying rounds shot earlier this week. The teams have 2 minutes to shoot 3 arrows each. They alternate shooting until all arrows are shot. Depending on the classification, the winner is determined when the set score reaches 5, or the highest number of actual target points scored. It’s really a stressful way to compete, especially knowing your teammates are watching you. We all tried to cheer them on and encourage them.
In team competition, 3 archer teams are paired up according to their ranking from the qualifying round. Each of the 3 archers shoot 2 arrows, alternating until they have shot both their arrows. Our teams did really well. Many are going into the medal rounds on Saturday. They also were able to earn several slots for the US Paralympic team going to Rio next year. If a team or an individual makes it into the semi-finals, they automatically earn a slot for the team in the Paralympic Games in Rio. If they win a medal, they earn a slot for themselves in the Paralympics in Rio next year. You can see that this is a real serious thing for these archers.
After lunch, before the team competitions resumed, Mark and I set up at the practice field to practice head-to-head shooting for my gold medal round on Sunday. I’m so lucky to have Mark here to help me out with this. It’s a very stressful format to compete in and I learned a lot about what I need to work on. I will be paired up with the winner of the elimination round shot on Friday. We will shoot 3 arrows, but will have to alternate our shots with our opponent. So the clock will start. Courtney will tell me to go and I will have 20 seconds to shoot my first arrow. As soon as I shoot that arrow, my opponents coach will say go, and that archer will shoot their first arrow. This will continue until we both have shot our 3 arrows. The archer scoring the most points will receive 2 points. If we tie, we will each receive 1 point. We will do the same thing again until someone reaches 6 points. What I discovered that I need the most work on is loading my bow fast enough so I’m ready as soon as my opponent has shot the arrow. Mark shoots pretty fast, so I was having a hard time loading my bow fast enough. Most of the time, my 20 seconds would begin before I was ready and I’d wind up with 10 seconds to actually shoot my shot. I’m so glad I was able to practice this and discovered what I need to work on in plenty of time to get comfortable with it.
Tomorrow we’re going to go back to Donaueschingen to look around some more and to have some good coffee and sweets!
I have to make a quick mention about the water here. They give us bottled water. It’s mineral water and really doesn’t taste very good at all. It’s getting harder and harder to drink. It leaves a weird texture in your mouth and really doesn’t seem very thirst quenching at all. Tomorrow we’re going to try to find some lemon juice that we can squirt into it to make it more enjoyable.
Courtney wanted to go down to the restaurant to post this and get some ice-cream, but he’s asleep, so I’m not sure that will happen. I may have to post tomorrow morning.