Three U.S. archers shooting for medals

By Teresa Iaconi/USA | Sept. 03, 2012, 12:30 a.m. (ET)

Jeff Fabry
Jeff Fabry is one of three U.S. archers who will compete for a medal Monday.

LONDON — After Sunday's quarterfinal action, two more members of Team USA have advanced to the semifinals, and are guaranteed the opportunity to compete for a Paralympic Games medal.

Matt Stutzman (Fairfield, Iowa) and teammate Dugie Denton (Joliet, Mont.) shot in an inspiring and truly impressive match in the compound men's open quarterfinals with Stutzman prevailing. "He didn't make a mistake and I did. I gave it away," Denton said. "Nothing fancy - simple. It happens occasionally."

In the first set, the archers tied with 28 points and in the second end they tied again with 29 points. Denton took the third set by one point shooting a perfect 30 to Stutzman's 29, bringing the match score to 4-2. 

In the fourth set Stutzman shot a 28 to Denton's 27, which tied the match at 4-4. Pushing the match to a fifth set, Denton shot 10-10-8 for 28 points but Stutzman shot a 9-10-10 for 29 points, scoring a hard-fought win and a semifinals berth.

"It's so difficult. I train with him all the time, we room together, we eat together and it's never fun, taking out your teammate," Stutzman said. "Today I was the lucky one. Last time, in Mexico (at the 2011 Parapan American Games), it was him." 

At the end of the match the archers received a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. After watching the match, President of Archery Great Britain David Harrison tweeted, "I have just been privileged to watch the most inspirational archery match in my life."

Eric Bennett (Surprise, Ariz.), competing in the recurve men's standing quarterfinals, took an early 4-0 lead over Oguzhan Polat (TUR). Polat refused to go down without a fight, tying the third set and winning the fourth. Bennett led 5-3 going into the final set. Polat shot a 9-8-8 for 25 points, but Bennett responded with an amazing 9-10-10 to clinch the match.

"On to the Semi-Finals and Medal Rounds tomorrow," Bennett commented in an update to fans. "All three [other archers] are amazing archers but I feel confident and calm. I will do all I can do and will be happy with the result no matter what happens but want that gold medal around my neck!"

Tomorrow three members of Team USA will shoot in the semifinals. In recurve men's standing, Bennett will face Timur Tuchinov of Russia. In men's compound W1 Jeff Fabry (Tulare, Calif.) will shoot against Norbert Murphy from Canada. In men's compound open, Stutzman faces Spain's Guillermo Rodriguez Gonzalez.