The second leg of the European Grand Prix 2009 was held from 19-24 May in Sofia, Bulgaria, in close to tropical conditions. Some 120 archers participated in this event in four categories. Except for a few, not many big names from the World Cup circuit were present. However, this did not make the competition less interesting. The Grand Prix proved again that it is a perfect podium for the younger archers to get experience in international competitions.
Successful event at the European Grand Prix in Sofia
четвъртък 28 май 2009 – 00:41:36
The competition was held at the beautiful venue of the King’s Village Spa resort at a base of a mountain in Sofia. In some cases the athletes could literally jump from their balcony on to the field. In total, 32 targets were setup on the field of play. The competition started with the qualification on Wednesday 20 May with a full FITA Round (144 arrows).
On the recurve men’s side, the World Cup contender Alan WILLS (GBR) ranked 1st with a score of 1314 points tied with Lorenzo GIORI (ITA). After the qualifications the men battled their way to a place in the finals. After some surprises during the elimination matches, GIORI (ITA) took the gold medal, while Tahil MOHD ZULKIFI (MAS) finished 2nd and Arshak PETROSYAN (ARM) took the 3rd place beating Elias CUESTA (ESP) 10-9 in a shoot-off.
On the female side, Tatiana BORODAY (RUS) smoked the field with 1343 points and ranked 1st. She had a 37-point lead over Jessica TOMASI (ITA) who was 2nd with 1306 after the FITA Round. Gema BUITRON (ESP) with 1304 and Malgorzata CWIENCZEK (POL) with 1302 rounded of the top four. On the way to the medal matches, BORODAY never gave up her first place ranking and walked away with the gold beating the young Natalia LESNIAK (POL) by 108-98. TOMASI took the bronze without battling as her opponent Iwona MARCINKIEWICZ (POL) had to fly home for personal reasons.
The compound men’s category saw Vladas SIGAUSKAS (LTU) rank 1st with a solid 1379-point qualification. SIGAUSKAS has put on a good streak ever since his outstanding performance at the recent World Cup stage in Porec. Second was Sam KYRITSOGLOU (BEL) with 1368, and Stefan MAZZI (ITA) and Francisco Javier GARCIA (ESP) completed the top four after qualification. Three of these gentlemen went all the way to the medal matches. SIGAUSKAS and KYRITSOGLOU switched positions, the Belgium (113) taking the gold while the Lithuanian (112) ended up with a silver medal. MAZZI won the bronze over another Spaniard Juan Francisco NAVARRO, 112 -106.
The compound women’s qualification ended with Viktoria BALZHANOVA (RUS) taking the No. 1 spot with 1375 points. Fatima AGUDO (ESP) ranked 2nd with 1373, and Jelena BABIBINA (LTU) and Irene CUESTA (ESP) were 2nd and 4th. The finals turned out to be a Spanish fiesta with Dolores CERNUDA (gold), Fatima AGUDO (silver) and Irene CUESTA (bronze) ending up on the podium. Sarah PRIEELS (BEL) finished in 4th place.
The mixed team event proved to be a big success once again. The atmosphere was absolutely great, and archers and spectators really enjoyed themselves. In the recurve division, the Polish team of Malgorzata CWIENCZEK and Piotr PIATEK took victory over Russia’s Belikto TSYREMPILOV and Tatiana BORODAY. Italy with TOMASI and GIORI won the bronze over MORILLO and BUITRON from Spain.
Daniel PAVLOV, President of the Bulgarian Archery Federation and organising committee said: “At first we were a little hesitant to organise this leg of the Grand Prix. We were not sure if we could get the funding to get it done. Luckily, we found some sponsors and also got help from the ministry of Sports. This and of course the help of the many volunteers made it possible for us to make the tournament a success. Of course, there were some small issues like in every event. But overall, I’m a happy man because the athletes are happy. Hopefully in the future we can have an event like this again. We will first evaluate and then see if it is possible. From this point, I would like to thank all the people, volunteers, judges, results crew, technical delegates and everybody who contributed in making this a success.