Elizabeth Rodriguez and Hugo Franco secured Cuba its first medal of the 2021 Pan American Archery Championships by beating Argentina in the bronze medal match of the recurve mixed team event.

It’s a meaningful podium for the pair – and the team – having completed an incredible journey to arrive in Mexico.

“It was always a concern in Cuba whether it was going to be possible for us to get to Monterrey. In the end we made it and we’re really satisfied with the results,” said Elizabeth.

“This stage of the competition helps us to stay in shape for what’s next and that’s to secure the Olympic quota place.”

With many borders still closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cuba’s standard routes to continental Americas weren’t available. The team had to take the long route and travel on flight connections through Europe, spending more than 40 hours in the air with stops in Paris and Mexico City.

It was worth it.

Elizabeth and Hugo qualified in the top 10s of their respective competition and as a mixed team beat Chile and Argentina to earn the bronze medal – and some confidence for what’s left of this tournament.

Their bronze medal match was done in three, 5-1, with sets of 38, 36 and 36 points.

“We’re very happy, this is the result of the work we have been doing, is the first medal and we’re satisfied. We have a long history as a team and everything flows naturally,” added Hugo.

These Pan American Archery Championships will award three quota spots in each gender for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Cuba, which is currently without a quota for the upcoming Games, has its sights on qualifying in Monterrey – as well as more podium finishes in the championship events.