With just over a month between my last outdoor tournament of the year and my first indoor tournament, I’ve been pretty busy lately. Unlike many archer, I shoot a completely different bow indoors than I do outdoors. That means I’ve had to not only setup my bow and arrows, but get used to the feeling of a completely different cam. Also, Easton came out with new arrows specifically designed for indoor use (especially internationally where target butts may not always be high quality), so I’ve also had to spend time getting those setup and tuned.
Unlike last year where I knew no one, but I had a ton of US archers on all my flights, this year I knew all the US archers going, but I had to fly alone to Morocco. Luckily, by flying out of Boston the process of getting there is pretty easy and painless. The only real “issue” I had was the line for passport control once I got to Morocco.
To put this into perspective, last year there was no ropes, no line, just run up to the front and get checked out. I ended up standing in line just under 2.5 hours, which meant I didn’t have any down time before heading to practice. I got there just as the opening ceremonies were wrapping up and had just enough time to set up my bow and hit the shooting line.
My body was sore from all the travel (esp my back), so I didn’t want to shoot as much as I normally do in practice and aggravate anything worse. Instead I took it easy, shot enough to get warmed up and sighted in and called it a day. Scoring for us would begin the next morning around 8:30am, so it was an early dinner and off to bed.
During qualification I had a rough day overall. I would either shoot a 30 or a 27/28, with very few 29s, which is not like me. I struggled to feel like I was getting into a rhythm…now I remember why I find indoors tough (only 3 arrows at a time). Three quarters of the way through the day, I rushed a shot (hadn’t completely come down into the 10 ring yet), causing me to shoot an 8. Instead of getting down and upset about this (bc yes in compound indoors shooting an 8 is a kiss of death), I laughed about it and joked to my bale mates that I did it on purpose, so I’d win the tie breaker (if scores are tied, the person shooting the most 10s “wins”). Although I was trying to lighten the mood, in reality I knew there would be no tie breakers, esp with how poorly I was shooting.
Sometimes however, funny things happen. As it turned out, all the women seemed to be a bit off the entire day, leaving me and fellow US shooter, Dahlia, tied for first. And lucky for me, I had shot an 8, so that meant I won the tie breaker and was the #1 seed from qualification. I knew I had to forget about my poor score and just focus on coming back the next day and making good shots.
After a quick lunch, a group of us decided to head down to the Sukk and barter for some goods. I always love haggling, so I enjoyed helping some people get some great deals!
I had a bye my first match, but those of us with them managed to talk the judges into letting us shoot during this time on an open bale. I was feeling much better with my shot and excited for the day. There were a couple of upsets in the first round, which reminded me that I had to be on my game, anything can happen in head to head matches.
My first match was closer than I would have liked, with me not getting into a groove until about the 3rd end of the match (5 ends total). It was enough to move on, which is all that matters at this point, and I now had what I knew would be my toughest match of the day against Naomi Jones from Great Britain. She had shot the highest score to beat out her teammate, Andrea Gales in the previous round and I had shot with her in qualification and knew she was shooting well (besides a couple bad ends).
The match started with me 29, her 30 then me 30, her 29. This meant we were all tied up at 59, with 3 ends to go. I then shot a 28 to her 29 (with one of mine JUST out), we shot the same score in the 4th end and in the final end she lead by one and pounded out another 30 to my 29 to take the match by 2 points. After we shot, I realized she was the person I beat last year to go into the gold medal match (she ended up taking the bronze), so I told her hopefully we could have a reverse repeat this year, with both of us winning our medal matches again.
The finals area was setup while we went back and ate lunch, including cameras and video equipment this year (if you haven’t already seen it, you can watch my match here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jE3AGPh8og&list=PLnGbQXzYstgEMUJuNVgfEukS4U6QbZtDh). I knew I had to lay the hammer down early in this match, and not give the girl I was shooting against any room to breathe. I succeeded (with her obvious nerves helping me out), and I was leading by 7 points going into the final end.
At this point, I knew I had won as long as I didn’t do anything stupid (shoot a miss, etc). I decided to just get my shots of quickly, in the yellow and not try to be too perfect. This resulted in me shooting three 9s, while she shot three 10s, but that was enough to secure the bronze medal. Yes, I missed my goal of winning two years in a row, but I was happy to at least be on the podium.
The next morning we all said goodbye to Morocco and many of us headed to Madrid where we had a 18 hour layover.
I have a lot of work to do before heading to Bangkok in a couple of weeks. I feel like I was lucky to finish as well as I did with the scores that I shot, and I know this will not be the case in Thailand, with a much larger women’s field.