Rio 2016 bronze medallist Milena Olszewska earned a surprise win over Iran’s Olympic champion Zahra Nemati today in the semi-final of the recurve women’s open at the World Archery Para Championships in the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
The Pole will now have a shot at her first individual global gold as she meets China’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Wu Chunyan in the final.
“My goal was to be in the top eight,” Olszewska, who also took bronze at the London 2012 Games, told World Archery.
“If I’m right, it provided a quota spot for Tokyo Paralympics.
“I aimed for the top eight and said I would welcome everything above that.
“I think I'm still a bit shocked I advanced to the final and beat Zahra.”
After four ends the two women were tied at 4-4, and the Polish archer shot 26 to Nemati’s 24 to win the last set and the match.
Wu, who beat Svetlana Barantseva of Russia in her semi-final, is now set on adding a second title to the one she won in 2015.
“I’m happy,” she said.
“However, I have to stay focused on the next match.
“I want to be a champion.”
Olszewska and Wu last met at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, where the Chinese archer won 7-1.
There were two more surprises on the day as Matt Stutzman, top seed in the compound men’s open, was beaten by his United States team mate Ben Thompson, and Britain’s Rio 2016 W1 champion Jessica Stretton, who has just switched to the compound women’s open class, shot a world record to reach the final.
Stretton, who won Rio gold aged 16, will face Singapore’s Nur Syahidah Alim – who beat Tatiana Andrievskaia of Russia – in the final after scoring 148 out of a possible 150 points in her semi-final against Eleonora Sarti of Italy.
“To be honest, I’m in disbelief,” Stretton said.
“I just wanted to get in the top eight, so to be going for gold is definitely a good surprise,”
Thompson won 144-142 to put himself into his first global gold medal match.
“I struggled early and then found my groove, and then the match was a little nerve-racking because Matt is an awesome archer,” said Thompson, who took bronze in the last World Para Championships in Beijing two years ago.
He will face Turkey’s Murat Turan, who defeated India’s Rakesh Kumar today.
Eric Bennett and Suresh Selvathamby will contest the recurve men’s open final.
Athletes from 19 nations have now secured 62 quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics during mixed team and individual eliminations in this Championship.
Eighteen more spots will be awarded before the end of the event, either in the secondary tournament tomorrow or after the results of the finals.
The top four mixed teams in each category at the World Archery Para Championships win quota places.
Spots are also awarded to the top finishers in the individual events.
A total of 140 athletes will compete in the archery events at the next Paralympics.
Over half of the quota places are won at this World Championships, 30 are distributed across three continental qualifiers and at least 12 are available at the final qualification tournament in 2020.
The remaining spots are split between the host country and awarded to smaller Para nations on the merit of universality.