Argentina’s Maria Eugenia Gonzalez and Ivan Nikolajuk defeated Guatemala, 153-152, to take the first-ever compound mixed team title at the Pan American Games in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
“It’s huge to have this medal, especially a gold medal, for the country. For the sport, for the event, since it’s the first time we have this competition,” said Nikolajuk. “This sport is a passion. It’s a life goal achieved.”
Few would have predicted that these two teams would contest the final in Lima before the start of the competition.
But Guatemala, after seeding seventh, upset the USA in the quarterfinals, 156-155, and then dispatched Brazil in a shoot-off in the semis with a perfect 20-point tiebreak.
Argentina met top-ranked Colombia in the semis.
Maria Eugenia and Ivan produced the highest 16-arrow-match score of the competition, 157 points, to break the brackets and upset the favourites.
But in the final, they weren’t as much in control.
Down by a point, 114-113, with one end to go, the Argentinian pair delivered a perfect 40 points with their last four arrows. Gonzalez stood behind her partner as the Guatemalan team loosed its final arrows.
“She didn’t say anything but I’m sure she was nervous. Those last two arrows from Guatemala decided the match,” said Ivan. “It was nerve-wracking knowing it didn’t depend on us but would be decided by the other team.”
“Although you always come and try to win, we knew it was going to be difficult,” said Ivan. “It wasn’t easy but the result was that we were the winner. We can’t believe it.”
Silver is an encouraging result for Guatemala. The country will host a stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup for the first time in 2021.
The archery competitions at the 2019 Pan American Games take place on 6-11 August in Lima, Peru.