After being lucky enough to attend the first ever archery world masters games in Lausanne, Switzerland, last year. I considered myself extremely fortunate to be able to attend my first ever European Masters Games, held in Turin, Italy from 25th July to 4th August 2019.
We had decided to travel out to Italy prior to the start of the games and enjoy a few days getting acclimatised to the weather and finding our way around the Peidmont region.
Our flight from Gatwick left at lunchtime on Thursday and by 5pm we were safely ensconced in our apartment, close to the city, in a town called Moncalieri.
Friday was the day to visit the games centre, in the centre of Turin, to get our accreditation and goody bags. Google maps, being our new best friend, found the centre, no problem.
The size of the centre surprised us, it was huge,
each sport with its own small counter, 30 different sports, along with a central accreditation desk, merchandising counter and the obligatory ice cream counter!
The process was very slick and, after a quick conversation with Laura, on the Archery desk, we were in and out in no time.
We then had the opportunity to go and practice at a club, just outside of Turin. We had been lucky to meet some wonderful Italian archers when we were in Switzerland last year. Antonella Maroli was staying at the same hotel as we were in Lausanne and we stayed in touch knowing that the next European Games were to be held in her hometown. She belongs to Sentiero Selvaggio Di Venaria Reale archery club and they had, very kindly agreed that we could train with them prior to the games.
Saturday morning we took a drive out to see where the field competition was to be held, at Rivoli Castello, then the weather changed...... it poured!! That afternoon was planned for the opening procession but the weather had really hampered the plans and after waiting around in the rain, a decision was made to have the opening ceremony at the games centre. Then in typical Italian style, the weather suddenly brightened up and ...... all change the procession was back on!! I have to say that it was so worth the wait, over 7 thousand athletes gathered together to celebrate the opening of the games. The procession wound through the streets of Turin like a massive party train, flags of all the entering countries waving at the front.
The procession ended in the beautiful Piazza Castello with the Italian national anthem.
So to the competition: On Wednesday it was time for the field
I had never competed in a field competition with unmarked distances before but had done some research and spoken to some archers that are in the “know” regarding this! I was determined not to miss the opportunity to compete at this stunning venue, so in for a penny, in for a pound!
The competition for ladies was to begin at 2.30pm so we
managed to have a gentle start to the day. Some fellow English
archers had arrived on Monday and we gave a lift to Wendy
Aubrey, as her husband, Mike had driven to the castle earlier as
his round was at 8.30am.
The round was 12 marked and 12 unmarked targets over a very steep course, mostly heavily wooded. The pathways were clear and easy to follow but some of the shots were a real challenge for me! I was teamed with Ragnhild Nordmelan from Norway and Lis Becker from Germany for the round, both experienced field archers and we had some great laughs, even in the face of a snake!
After 5 hrs in 34 + degree heat the round was over and we were
We returned to the tent to hand in our scores and after looking at ianseo I was shocked to find that I was placed 5th! With 271.
On Thursday morning we had to return to the castle to compete in
head to head matches, another first for me!
We arrived early and set up ready for the matches, my first was against Denece Clark from Australia, we were going to be companions together for the target competition.
We had to shoot at 6 targets, all marked distances, within the course, then return back to the central tent.
I won the match against Denece 61 to 39 and returned to find my
next match was against fellow Brit Wendy Aubrey!
After a short wait we were off again into the woods to shoot on 6 different targets
It was a close match with me taking the lead after the first two targets but after scoring a fantastic 17 out of 18 on target three Wendy took the lead. Wendy hung on to the lead on the next two targets and even though I outscored her on the last target she took the match 76 to 70 and was through to the last four and went on to win the bronze medal.
Friday was practice day for the target event and again Ladies session was from 2.30pm. The venue was inside a military area and very well kept! Practice gave us a chance to meet target companions for the following day, as well as catch up with archers that we had met, from all over the world, when we were in
Switzerland last year as well as familiarise ourselves with the set up and heat that would greet us on Saturday!
Again the Ladies were scheduled for a 2.30 start on Saturday so we were able to have a lazy breakfast and make our way to the venue. When we arrived at the venue it was very busy, the recurve men and compound women were finishing off their qualification rounds and a sudden surge of excitement hit, this was what I had come all this way for!
After setting up and checking my equipment I took some time to gather myself before meeting my target buddies and setting up scopes. As I mentioned earlier I was on target with Denece Clark from Australia and we were joined by Cristina Rendenti from Italy and Lisa Wirsing from Germany, both of whom I had met in Lausanne last year!
The first 36 arrows passed in a flash and I had scored 314 and was ranked 5th, the heat was extreme but water was freely available and shade was plentiful and I felt I was coping with it well.
Next 36 were a little more difficult as the heat seemed to intensify later in the afternoon but I managed another reasonable score of 307 placing me 6th for that half and 5th overall....... I was chuffed with that!
We then went straight into the first set of head to heads where I
was against the 28th seed Regzedmaa Steil from Mongolia.
This match went well for me and I won 6 - 0 and I was through to the next day and the last 16!
Wendy Aubrey had also won her first match 7 -1 and was also through to the Sunday matches but unfortunately Anne Smith had come up against the 11th seed from Mongolia and lost out 6 - 0
This time we were due to shoot in the morning and temperature
wise it was more bearable.
First head to head of the day was against Ragnhild Nordnelan, seeded 12 and she had been on my target for the field event, so was very friendly, which put me at ease.
The match ended 6-0 and I was through to the next stage.
I then realised this would be against Anna Botto, the Masters
Italian champion, who had won the field event on Thursday!
The first set went my way 26 -24 and the second 25-24 I tried my best to stay calm and again shot 26 but this time Anna shot 28 , it was 4-2 and all to play for. Next set was mine! 25-24 and I had knocked out the Italian champion and was in the last 4!!
The semi was against the number 1 seed Renate Kerbl from Austria, this was not going to be easy!
So to the first set , 26 each, tied, one a piece. Second set went to Renate 27-24, and the third 25-23. At the fourth set I was 5-1 down. Next set I hit the magic 10,10,10 to Renate’s 20 and the score was 5-3! I needed to win the next set to force a shoot off...... but it wasn’t to be Renate was back on track and shot 27 to my 25, she had me beat 7-3 so I was in the bronze medal match.
This match was against Petra Patz - Nussgens, she had qualified
just one place and one point below me.
First set was close as expected 25-24 to me, second set 27-24 to Petra 2 set points each. Next set we both shot 29, you’d think you would win a set with 29?! ... 3 set points each. Fourth set 27-26 to Petra, so all down to the next three arrows to stay in the game! I shot 26 to Petra’s 25, we were at a tie 5 all so a one arrow shoot off had to follow. A few minutes later it was all over, I shot a strong 9 but Petra had nudged into the ten ring, I had lost out on the bronze medal!!
We had enjoyed the shooting but also supporting the other British archers. We had seen that Peter Webb had reached the Gold medal match in the field event on Thursday and hurried to the front of the castle to watch him win. We also cheered Wendy Aubrey as she beat Ragnhild Nordnelan in the bronze medal match at the front of the Castle at Rivoli, with the most stunning backdrop.
We even cheered when our Italian friend Antonella won gold in the field event, shooting longbow!
On Sunday, in the target competition, Mike Aubrey shot his way through to the Gold medal match, his wife Wendy was his support in the box and I acted as his agent while my husband Tony streamed the whole event, live!
We would like to congratulate them all on their successes and also all the other British archers who took part in the games and supported me along the way.
Even though I didn’t bring home a medal , the experience had been absolutely amazing from the shooting to making new friends and meeting up with old ones, made in Lausanne.
As a more mature archer I would highly recommend attending a Masters Games, even more so after my second attempt!
We are already planning the next trip to Japan in 2021.