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Saturday, July 17th 2010
Team competition
World Championships Hungary 2010
Impression of the day: 

The day before the last day of the tournament is since a couple of years the team event. The course was laid out on the outskirts of the practice field. The competition is eight targets and all targets could be visited by the public. And so they did, we had quite a few spectators during the performance of the athletes. The Dutch were a bit sad to see their only team beaten by the French ladies convincingly. The Dutch supporters immediately switched over to the Finnish (men) team that has Pasi Ahjokivi as their barebow shooter. Pasi worked in Belgium for quite some time and showed up in numerous fields in the region, so he is well known in that part of the world. They were teasing him how the announcer struggled with the pronunciation of his name but they could not care less. They were on a roll and defeated the USA team smiling ear to ear. They met the Swedes in the finals later and clinched that match and took the gold. There is a picture in the album where Jari Haavisto (the compound archer from Finland) is showing the crowd the back of his throat while doing a Godzilla cheer after that victory.

The finals were not shot around the practice field but next to the palace close to the river Donou. There were shaded stands, an ice cream salesman, the mobile t-shirt shop, a soda bar, a television crew and what not. The final course is also very challenging: a steep shot up the hill towards a 60 cm face at max distance, a short uphill shot for the bunnies, a decent uphill shot for the 40 cm faces and a challenging 80 cm uphill shot to conclude. The first match of the day was the French junior team beating the Slovenian juniors. I was uphill back at the targets and could make some nice shots from above. That first final took 40 minutes in total. You could have seen it on the net, since it was very nicely live broadcasted by FITA.

The other finals were not taking 40 minutes but the logistics involved with shooting the finals are immense. There are two different agents involved with evaluating the arrow at target number one, three and target number four. And they can't get behind the targets if the practice field is open. Furthermore, they have to wait during the final they are helping out for hidden behind the targets for the length of the final. And the temperatures up there today where pot roast worthy. There are a lot of lizards back at the targets, and however they are coldblooded critters, I have never seen them move that fast. Well, to be honest, maybe in Utah in the hot dessert sun at Arches National Park. The archers competing were in the arena without umbrellas, and there was just enough shade for an ant to hide for the sun so they had a tough afternoon. The archers, not the ants. I think someone said umbrellas and rucksacks you can sit on do not look good on television, but shooting a final without the possibility to recover for a bit adds another challenge to the finals here in Visegrád.

The logistics tomorrow are even worse. Today every archer just shot one arrow at the target, so they only needed four to complete the match. It would not be unfair to ask participants to bring four arrows into the arena. Tomorrow every finalist will shoot three arrows at the targets. And however I see quite a few arrows in the quivers of the top archers that will shoot the finals here, I know the arrows in my personal bowcase and I know which three or four arrows I would like to bring in a field if I were to be shooting a gold medal match. I reckon I would want those arrows back to shoot at the next target. My prediction of 6 minutes per target during the individual final might even be optimistic. And after the finals we also have the medal ceremony at the palace. Therefore I hope the temperature tomorrow will be a little bit more decent (and the locals say it is unusual to have six days with those high temperatures in a row, so the odds are favoring us) and I also hope the contestants can make it to the banquet that starts at 8 pm... Oh, and if you are an agent, bring spikes if it is going to rain. You would need them to climb to the back of the targets.



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