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European Indoor Archery Championships, Poland 2013

Ireland gets its highest ranked finish at the 2013 European Indoor Archery Championships with Mel Lawther securing 4th place. A four strong team of Irish archers travelled to Rzeszow, Poland last week for the five day tournament. Robert Hall, Stuart Wilson and Alan Convery were shooting in the male compound category and Mel Lawther shot the female compound category.

All qualification rounds were shot on Wednesday, 27th Feb where Mel ranked 13th out of 26 in her category. Robert, Stuart and Alan ranked 25th, 30th and 40th respectively out of the 42 male compound archers competing. These standings saw Mel, Robert and Stuart all progress to the head to head knockout stages on Thursday 28th.

For Robert and Stuart the journey ended in the first round of the knockout matches.  Mel, however, beat Kseniya Shkliar of the Ukraine with a strong match score of 6-2 and moved on to the 1/8th knockouts. In this round Mel came up against Marcella Toniolio of Italy, ranked 4th in the qualifications which made her a formidable opponent.  Both shot very tight points throughout the match but the round belonged to Mel with a score of 6-4. The quarter final was against another member of the Italian team, Sandrine Vandionant-Frangilli, wife of Olympic gold medallist Michele Frangilli, and ranked 5th in qualification. The match went to a 5-5 draw and on for a one arrow shoot off with both women shooting 9’s.Mel’s arrow, being closer to centre, won her the match and a place in the semi-finals against Naomi Jones of Great Britain. Unfortunately Naomi proved stronger and took the match 6-0. Naomi moved on to the finals and Mel to the bronze medal match where she met Jelena Babinino of Lithuania. Babinino took the match 6-4 and the bronze medal. With the individual matches decided all that was left were the team events on Friday.

The following day saw the compound teams face off against each other. The Irish male compound team made up of Robert, Stuart and Alan placed 10th in qualifications and faced the 7th ranked team, Russia. Despite the Irish teams best efforts their Russian opponents took the match with a score of 235 out of a possible 240 against Irelands 227.

The team will return home on March 3rd, the same day as the 2013 Irish Indoor Target Championships. Their successes, and Mel’s fantastic finish at the European Championships are guaranteed to provide a huge boost to all archers competing for national titles in Cork city over the weekend.