Jack Williams delivered a 10 in a single-arrow shoot-off to upset teammate Brady Ellison in the recurve men’s gold medal match at the Archery World Cup Final in Yankton.
The arrow made Williams the first archer appearing at the season-ending event as a host representative to take gold. It also prevented Ellison from matching Sara Lopez’s record six circuit titles, won yesterday.
“This whole day has been a really good day for me. I’m still riding the high,” said Williams.
“Being able to have the whole crowd here supporting and the whole guest side of the bleachers cheering for home field for both of us and riding all of that energy. It honestly kind of feels good.”
This was the first time the Archery World Cup Final was held in the USA.
The two host nation archers were together in Japan just two months ago as members of the USA team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Ellison, the top recurve men’s qualifier for Yankton, comfortably beat Mauro Nespoli and Atanu Das to make the final. But it was his compatriot, Williams, who looked like the hot hand rather than the presumptive favourite.
Williams dominated Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz early in their semifinal, opening with eight perfect arrows and a quick, 5-1, lead.
It would take him two more sets to end it but he was a deserved finalist.
There was no fast start for Jack in the final.
Ellison shot sets of 30 and 29 points before Williams responded with his own perfect volley, ensuring the match didn’t run away from him.
At 4-2, in the fourth, Brady had a chance to win it with his last shot.
It landed low and left, just out of the 10-ring in the nine, missing its mark by one… maybe two millimeters. The balance of the match had completely changed.
Williams forced the tiebreak with another perfect set and, after Brady had shot a nine in the shoot-off, the 21-year-old followed with a 10.
“I just kind of… fell back on what I knew,” said Williams. “Just followed my steps and shot a 10.”
It sounds so simple.
“This is definitely the biggest one so far,” said the astonishingly collected new champion during the post-match interview. “I’ve had a lot of first places, but not at a World Cup Final. It definitely feels great.”
Ellison beat Williams for gold at the third stage of the international circuit in Paris.
Now Williams has beaten Ellison for the title at the circuit final.
The silver is yet another medal on the circuit for arguably the most consistent contender of the last decade-plus.
Ellison spoke highly of the man that beat him, rather than of his own disappointment.
“Everyone saw how good he shot today, he had the hot hand and he had it all figured out and he shot well and that’s all that matters,” said the world number one.
“To come here and have the first World Cup Final that’s been in the USA and have us as the last match of it, and go down into a shoot-off, I think it’s kinda awesome and a special way to end it.”
Ellison has now medalled at 11 of the 10 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final events for which he has qualified.
Also a three-time Olympic medallist, the most-decorated man on the circuit has now been in eight title matches, winning five of them. He also has two bronze medals from 2013 and 2018.
The bronze medal match in Yankton saw Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz defeat Atanu Das in straight sets.
“I wanted to shoot with Brady for the gold medal but I didn’t make it,” said Mete. “That’s okay. At the next event, the next World Cup Final or world championships, we’ll shoot for gold.”
The podium is a fitting way to close Mete’s Olympic-winning season.
The recurve men’s finals brought competition in Yankton, across the back-to-back World Archery Championships and Archery World Cup Final, to a close.
Unruh bests Osipova after tiebreak in battle of Olympic runner-ups
Earlier in the day Unruh shot a better 10 to beat Osipova in a tiebreak to decide the recurve women’s gold medal match.
“It’s amazing. I’m still trying to understand and I’m just so happy that I’ve won the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final,” said Unruh.
“It’s a great end to the season. I didn’t dream it would be so successful and now I’m happy to head on holiday.”
The silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Unruh, jumped to a two-set lead over the silver medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Osipova, before the latter battled back.
A high-quality final finished in a single-arrow tiebreak.
Osipova, who had gotten better with each set after dispatching Ana Vazquez and Deepika Kumari in the earlier matches, stuck a decent 10.
There was room – and enough for Unruh to sneak inside.
She delivered a near-perfect arrow to take it.
Unruh, who flew out to Yankton solely for yesterday’s event having skipped the worlds for police training, is the first German winner of the Archery World Cup Final.
“I didn’t expect anything. I just wanted to enjoy it and make strong shots, which I did,” said Lisa. “In the end, it paid off.”
Osipova’s silver medal matches the best-ever result for a Russian recurve woman at this tournament. (Perova finished second in 2017.)
It also caps an exceptional season for the 28-year-old.
“Of course, I wanted to be first, but I’m happy with silver all the same,” she said. “I‘m really satisfied I’ve one so many medals this year.”
Germany had a second archer on the podium after Michelle Kroppen, who had been knocked out by teammate Unruh, defeated world number two Deepika Kumari in the bronze medal match.
That also went to a shoot-off, Kumari having to comeback from two perfect opening volleys from Kroppen, but the Indian archer shot a weird six in the tiebreak.
“Normally, I don’t want to focus on [my opponent’s] arrow but it was announced very loudly,” said Michelle. “I know I just had to shoot something straight and strong.”
Final ranking: recurve women
- Lisa Unruh
- Elena Osipova
- Michelle Kroppen
- Deepika Kumari
- Mackenzie Brown
- Casey Kaufhold
- Svetlana Gomboeva
- Ana Vazquez
Final ranking: recurve men
- Jack Williams
- Brady Ellison
- Mete Gazoz
- Atanu Das
- Nicholas D’Amour
- Yun Sanchez
- Maximilian Weckmueller
- Mauro Nespoli
by Andrea Vasquez for World Archery