Australian mens recurve archery team wins 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games Gold medal


Australian mens recurve archery team wins 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games Gold medal

In a stunning result, the 5th ranked Australian team of Matthew Gray, 37 from NSW, Mathew Masonwells, 24 from Queensland and Taylor Worth, 19 from WA, defeated the 3rd ranked Malaysian team of Muhammad Izz Abdul Radhim, Chu Sian Cheng and Arif Farhan Ibrahim Putra. The Aussies were never headed from start to finish in the hot and humid conditions at the Yamuna Sports Complex in Delhi, India on Friday 8th October 2010 and won 219 to 212. While the Malaysian team picked up the Silver medal, the Bronze was won by 1st ranked host nation India who beat England 221-218. The Aussies have developed a reputation of giant killers as they had earlier knocked out the 4th ranked Canadian team and then 1st ranked India 216-211 in the semi-finals.

Recurve archery has been included as a sport in the Commonwealth Games programme for the first time since its 1982 debut in Brisbane, when Australia came away with a Bronze medal. Our women's recurve archery team of Deonne Bridger, WA, Lexie Feeney, NSW and Dawn Nelson, Vic were knocked out of the competition after losing to Canada in the quarter-final round.

Mathew Masonwells, 24, a carpenter by day, is ranked 9th and took up archery as a 13-year-old, when his father made him a wooden bow to take to a medieval fair and he could not resist continuing to use it at his grandparents' farm. Now in the midst of his biggest year on the elite archery scene, Masonwells earlier said he was fairly pleased with how far he had come at the Games but added there is always room for improvement. While nerves often leave far more experienced archers in a tizz, Masonwells keeps his focus with the help of noise-cancelling headphones and tunes by the likes of Aussie hip-hop group, the Hilltop Hoods. ''Every now and again, between arrows, I'll come back and pop them on just to zone out, so it's just my memory, music and that's it,'' he said.

Australia's Cassie McCall from NSW won Bronze 29 points to 27 in the women's individual compound in a play-off with fellow Australian Fiona Hyde, making the Australian haul 1 Gold and 1 Bronze. Nicky Hunt of England won Gold and Doris Mary Jones of Canada Silver. McCall, 27 beat Scotland's Tracey McGowan in her quarter-final while Hyde got the better of Danielle Brown from England. However, both Australian women lost their semi-finals to find themselves in a playoff for third spot on the podium.

Remarkably McCall has now reached elite level in three sports, having starred as a youngster claiming a national judo championship under legendary Bushido coach Bruce Fagan at Shoalhaven Heads, NSW and she also went on to play for the NSW Institute of Sport football team in the Women's National Soccer League. Cassie has only been involved in archery for a mere two and a half years, so there is hope for many aspiring archers.

England won Gold medals in both men's and women's compound archery teams. The men pushed host nation India into Silver by 231 points to 229, with South Africa beating Australia for the Bronze medal. The women won out over Canada, who won Silver, 232 points to 229, while India won Bronze, defeating Malaysia.

England's women's recurve archery team of Alison Williamson, Naomi Folkard and Amy Oliver missed out on Gold in controversial fashion when they were beaten 207-206 by India. England held the lead going into the final set of arrows but a score of six by Amy Oliver meant they missed out. Vocal Indian spectators seemed to distract Oliver when she set up for the shot, but the team put a brave face on their loss to India, but acknowledged that competing in front of a vociferous home crowd was not easy. The Games in Delhi have suffered from lack of spectators, but those present at the archery made up for empty stadiums elsewhere.

"Obviously it was a difficult way to finish," said 38-year-old Williamson. "But if you'd offered us Silver on the plane on the way over here, we possibly would have taken it."

"After winning two Golds yesterday, one Gold and Silver today, it's still been a very strong showing from the England team. Obviously, this is not a typical archery crowd but we're not making any excuses because we shoot as a team. I liken it to golf, though. You don't get people clapping and shouting when someone is teeing off. But, as I say, it's not an excuse. We respect the Indian team and they were worthy winners."

Oliver added: "I was nervous, the crowd was not good. They were pretty loud and it was not good sportsmanship for archery."

The behaviour of the crowd prompted International Archery Federation (FITA), archery's world governing body, to release a statement on the incident reminding spectators of how they should behave and urging fair play.

"While we are glad to have an enthusiastic crowd in the archery stands, we need to strongly remind the fans that they must respect all the athletes on the field," said the statement.

"Specifically, we ask the public to be quiet when the archers draw their bow up until the arrow has been shot. If you wish, this is like in tennis, when the umpire asks for silence when a player is about to serve.

This is a matter of fair play for all the athletes who have worked very hard to come and perform at these Commonwealth Games. All the athletes should be given a fair chance to compete and should not be disturbed at the time that they are shooting.

There are many other moments, when the crowd can cheer for their favourites. If necessary, FITA will take the appropriate measures to ensure a safe and fair field of play. We ask for fair play."

New Delhi, home to 14 million people, are hosting the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games - the first time India has hosted the Games and only the second time the event has been held in Asia (Kuala Lumpur in 1998 was the first). The Delhi Games Village is situated on a 40 acre site in the heart of the capital with a possible capacity for 8,500 athletes and officials.

Delhi is the capital city of India and is rich in culture and history. There are two main districts of the city, Old Delhi the capital of Muslim India between the mid 17th and late 19th centuries with its historic sites, mosques and monuments and New Delhi, the imperial city created by the British Raj with its imposing government buildings and tree lined avenues. Weather wise the city experiences an October mean temperature of a minimum 17 degrees centigrade and maximum 31 degrees with humidity ranging from 31% to 78%.

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