A busy week is underway for Para archers, with the Para Pan American Championships and European Para Archery Championships taking place in Medellin, Colombia, and Pilsen, Czech Republic, respectively.
The Para Pan Americans begin on Tuesday (14 August) with 305 athletes from 22 countries competing across 21 medal events that also include junior and master categories.
Brazil’s Jane Karla Gogel has been on a roll this year, having won the women’s compound open in the first leg of the Para Archery European Circuit in June, and rising to world No. 1 for the first time in her career. But Canada’s Karen Van Nest is the defending Pan Am champion from 2016 and looks to retain her title.
Paralympic and world champions Andre Shelby and Ben Thompson are among the US archers aiming for gold.
Shelby will be the one to beat in the men’s compound open, as he holds the title from Rio 2016 and silver from the 2017 World Championships in Beijing, China.
Perhaps his biggest challenger will be compatriot Thompson, who was part of the gold medal- winning men’s compound open team from the 2015 Worlds in Germany. He captured individual Worlds bronze in Beijing and would want to hold onto his gold from the 2016 Para Pan Ams.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, the European Championships got underway on Saturday (11 August), with 127 athletes from 28 countries taking on eight medal events.
David Drahoninsky will draw the biggest cheers from the home crowd, as the men’s W1 Paralympic silver medallist and 2015 world champion will try to build off his victory from June’s European Circuit event.
Great Britain’s teenage sensation Jessica Stretton already owns a Paralympic and world title in the women’s compound open, and is only missing regional gold on her resume.
Alberto Simonelli has stayed busy this year by also competing in able-bodied events. In February, he helped the Italian men’s able-bodied team capture silver at the World Archery Indoor Championships. This week, the world’s top-ranked men’s compound open athlete has a chance to defend his European title.
Both the Para Pan American and European Championships run until Sunday (19 August).