The second stage of the Indoor Archery World Cup was held in Nimes, France this past weekend with over 1100 starters from 31 countries. The very best in the world were in attendance as they prepared for the final round in Las Vegas, and every category saw a first-time winner.
Reo Wilde started 2013 as he finished 2012: a champion. Having won the Indoor Archery World Cup stages in Singapore and Las Vegas multiple times, Nimes was an omission on his uniquely impressive resume. Wilde told World Archery before the event: “It's not the only tournament that I haven't won... but I want to win this time.” He had a hard route to the final with every match going at least 5 sets, including a shoot-off against multiple indoor world record holder and 2012 Nimes champion Sergio Pagni (ITA). Once in the final, though, Wilde wasted no time, edging out local star Pierre-Julien Deloche (FRA) 7-1 to take the gold without giving up a single set.
Wilde’s teammate and reigning world field champion Jesse Broadwater secured third and clinched the bronze medal, stopping Njaal Aamaas (NOR) with a 6-2 win.
Céline Schobinger (SUI) was arguably the biggest surprise of the weekend, beating the multi-time world champion Natalia Valeeva (ITA) to take the women’s recurve title. Schobinger was clearly the underdog, having qualified three places below Valeeva and scraped past Kim Min Jung (KOR) in a semi-final shootoff, but she stayed strong enough to recover from losing the first set and went on to win 6-4.
Kim, part of a strong Korean contingent, beat defending champion Lisa Unruh (GER) for the bronze medal. Unruh came closest of the 2012 champions to defending her title but was overpowered by Kim, who shot eleven 10s and one 9 in the match to win 6-2.
Sebastian Rohrberg (GER) managed his shooting perfectly across the weekend, coming from a seeding of 17th to beat Rick van der Ven (NED), the current European outdoor champion who placed fourth at the London Olympics. Rohrberg took his chance to improve on his second place finish at the Amsterdam Face2Face tournament and continue an impressive indoor season.
Rounding out an all-European final, Elias Cuesta Cobo (ESP) edged past Alberto Zagami (ITA) for the bronze medal.
U.S. Olympic Team silver medalists Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski both qualified in the top 10 (third and ninth respectively) but exited in the head-to-head matches, with Ellison falling to Cobo, and Kaminski going out to eventual champion Rohrberg. Kaminski later said he “made great strides this shoot;” both archers will be ones to watch at the upcoming Vegas Shoot, which is also the third and final stage of this year’s Indoor Archery World Cup.
Naomi Jones (GBR) continued her success indoors by following up her Amsterdam Face2Face victory with another win in Nimes. She showed her intent with a perfect semifinal against Sandrine Vandionant- Frangili (FRA) from host Arc Club de Nimes, with Jones scoring 90 points for 9 arrows to win 6-0. She then held off World Cup finalist Marcella Tonioli (ITA), coming from behind to win 6-4. Jones commented: “to win with such a high level of competition on the field is a really great experience."
In the bronze medal match, Vandionant-Frangili recovered admirably to take the bronze medal from Gladys Willems (BEL), the most successful Nimes competitor ever with four titles.
Photos and complete results may be found at http://tournoieuropeen.arcclubdenimes.com/index.php?lang=en.