Two teams from the Americas contested the recurve women’s team gold medal match at the final qualifier for Tokyo 2020 in Paris. Mexico beat the USA and won gold, enjoying the celebration came with it, but it wasn’t the most important game of the day.
It was the semifinal wins against Italy and Spain, respectively, with which both Mexico and USA secured the full team quotas for the upcoming Olympic Games.
“It felt good, especially when you feel the support of your teammates, when they are there in every single shot, good or bad. I feel that when we are together, the feeling multiplies,” said Alejandra Valencia.
Alejandra, Ana Vazquez and Aida Roman opened the day as first seed having shot a combined 1993 points this morning, receiving a bye straight into the second round.
Their first opponent was Slovakia, which they dispatched in straight sets but, in the arena, against Indonesia the Mexicans had to battle hard.
Down by two sets, the trio reconnected, shouted for each other, and won back-to-back sets to force a shoot-off decider. A perfect 30 points in the shoot-off secured them the place into a semifinal against Italy.
With their confidence boosted, Mexico beat the European team in three, 5-1, and celebrated winning their tickets to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“It’s been hard because it’s been a very high-level competition. We are all fighting for the Olympic spot, and this kept us motivated and focused on doing our best effort,” said London 2012 Olympic silver medalist Aida.
Aida and Alejandra are both Olympians but it will Ana’s first appearance at the Games. The 20-year-old athlete couldn’t hold in her emotions at the end of the match.
“It feels way too good, this will be my first Olympics and I can’t express how I feel,” she said.
The USA’s Casey Kaufhold, Mackenzie Brown and Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez finished 12 points behind Mexico in qualification, seeding third with 1981 points, and also secured a bye into the second round.
Their first match was against Czech Republic, who they beat in four sets, 6-2. They then faced Turkey and just as happened with Mexico’s quarterfinal, the match went into a tiebreaker.
Tied at four set points apiece, the teams both ended up with the same score of 25 points in the tiebreak. After measuring twice both targets, the target judge decided the USA’s arrow was closer to the center.
“We did really good. I think that we stayed on our focus really good. We focused on making good shots and trusting each other and really communicating really well. I think we did a great job at the end of the day,” said Mackenzie.
With a final four booked, there was one more important win to take. The States made it look easy.
Shooting sets of 57, 55 and 55 points, the USA took victory over Spain in three and the emotions poured out. They had won their tickets for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“It feels really good. I came into this knowing we just had to shoot strong shots and be a really good, cohesive team, and I think we did that,” added Casey.
Just before Mexico and the USA contested the gold medal match, Italy and Spain disputed bronze with the former winning and joining them in Tokyo.
Teams from Colombia and Brazil also fought for their places but fell on the way. They both have one women’s quota place secured.
Competition in Paris will continue on Monday with the allocation of the last individual places for Tokyo.
For full results visit World Archery’s website.