Ben Thompson of the United States earned a bronze medal in men’s compound open with a 146-144 win over defending world champion Alberto Simonelli of Italy on Friday at the World Archery Para Championships in Beijing.
“This feeling is amazing,” Thompson said. “This is my birthday week, and to be able to be on the podium, that is the best feeling ever.”
Thompson had some extra inspiration with him during his matches. His sister-in-law, who lived in China for a year while in college, is fighting breast cancer, and he inscribed her name on his arrows along with a breast cancer ribbon.
A right-handed shooter, Thompson took up archery in 2014 and has been coached Nancey Trevanian Tsai the entire time. Thompson earned a men’s compound team gold medal at the 2015 world championships in Germany and an individual bronze medal at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, but he missed a spot on the 2016 Rio Paralympic team.
Thompson, originally from Springfield, Illinois, but now residing in South Carolina, was paralyzed from the chest down following a 2010 motorcycle accident.
The World Archery Para Championships continue through Sunday. The U.S. men’s recurve open team takes on Russia for the gold medal while four-time Paralympic medalist Jeff Fabry goes for gold in the men's W1 recurve/compound division on Saturday.
The U.S. men’s compound open team faces Russia for the bronze medal while Andre Shelby, a 2016 Paralympic gold medalist, goes for men’s compound open individual gold on Sunday.