Former bronze medallist at the World Archery Para Championship Anton Ziapaev emphasised that the Russian team were ready for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after a dominant show at the 7th Fazza Para Archery World Ranking Tournament – Dubai 2021.
After no showing at the Rio 2016 Games, Ziapaev said that the team have worked very hard in the past years, even during the recent lockdown, to make the most of the opportunity of performing at the biggest extravaganza after a long gap of nine years.
The Russian para-athletes were banned from competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics following the country’s doping scandal.
And the Fazza World Ranking event, where the team have finished with four medals including three Gold, was part of their preparation. Overall, the team finished second in the medals tally behind Turkey who clinched eight medals (3 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze). Team India finished third with 2 Gold and 3 Silver.
Ziapaev claimed one of the two golds Russia have won in the day, with a dominant 6-0 win over Ukraine’s Mykola Halyshych in the Recurve Men Open Final.
“We are happy that we are able to execute our plans in this championship. The last four days we had a great opportunity to review our technique and game, and plan accordingly ahead in the build up to the Paralympics.
“Personally. for me, I am also happy with my performance. I hope I can continue the momentum and repeat it at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics,” said the 44-year-old, who has two gold at European Cup events in 2019.
Ziapaev further said the Fazza Championships in Dubai was a blessing at this difficult time of Coronavirus when no events or training were happening in the last one year. “We had to train indoors back home not just because of the situation, but owing to cold weather and snowfall. I wish we would have got more time to stay here and shoot in this perfect weather.”
31-year-old Stepanida Artakhinova claimed the other gold for Russia in the day narrowly defeating Jyoti Baliyan of India 130-128 in Compound Women Open Individual Finals.
Artakhinova was also part of Russian gold medal-winning Compound Mixed Team pairing with Nail Gatin, who beat India’s Baliyan and Shyam Sundar Swami 158-155.
“I want to repeat this performance in Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. And I am working very hard for this,” said Artakhinova, who had three gold in European Cup events in 2019.
Among the top names, Iran’s back-to-back Paralympic champion Zahra Nemati (23, 16, 22, 23) finished second to Turkey’s Yagmur Sengul (22,22, 24, 24) 6-2 in the Recurve Women Open Final.
“Today wasn’t a very good day. I had a bad shot and lost my focus later in the competition. Overall, it was a good competition and good preparation for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This event was part of my training programme which had helped me evaluate my game,” said Nemati who has been nominated for IPC’s 2021 International Women’s Day Recognition in the Next Generation category.
Besides, India claimed the gold and silver medal in Compound Men Open event in the final day of the competition. They also had a silver from Baliyan in Compound Women Open.
In an all-Indian final, Rakesh (29-28-30-28-28) stayed ahead right from the first end against Swami (26-26-28-28-27) and maintained the momentum until the end. The final score read 143-135.
“I have been working on the mental aspect lately in my training and this had helped me in the final here. The condition was windy so getting this score in this condition is okay. Overall, it was a good experience to be in the shooting line after a long time,” said Rakesh.
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