Dutch archer Steve Wijler capped an incredible four finals at the Lausanne Invitational with a perfect four sets, and 12 arrows in the 10-ring, to beat reigning Indoor Archery World Series Champion Florian Unruh to the recurve men’s title.

He joined Lisa Barbelin, Mike Schloesser and Erika Damsbo atop the podium.

“My qualification wasn’t that good so I needed to come up with something better for the matches,” said Steve, following the win.

“I was expecting a really good match against Florian because it is always [like that]. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve been this nervous in about 10 years – I was really, really shaking – so I’m really happy to be back and I’ve got the sense for more.”

Florian, who married fellow German archer and Olympic silver medallist Lisa Unruh during the summer, shot a good match, starting with two 30-point sets. But arrows landing millimetres outside of the 10-ring in the third and fourth series spelled doom for the second seed.

The number one ranked archer heading into the second stage of this international circuit, Felix Wieser, took recurve men’s bronze with a win over Thomas Chirault.

Chirault was the top seed, having shot 596 out of a possible 600 points for the 60-arrow 18-metre round in qualifying.

The recurve women’s event in Lausanne had a high qualifier from France. Twenty-year-old Lisa Barbelin posted an impressive 591 and eventually found herself facing Gaby Schloesser in the final. Schloesser won the first invitational, during November, in Wohlen.

It was a topsy-turvy match. Barbelin opened with a 30 but Schloesser replied with two before the French archer came back with another perfect set in the fourth – to tie the account at 4-4 and force a deciding fifth volley.

Gaby then had three arrows land just out of the 10 while Lisa caught two – including with her definitive last shot to win the match, 6-4.

In her post-event interview, the young Frenchwoman praised her opponent and the back-and-forth tug-of-war for control of the final, saying it was a bizarre feeling to be back in competition after so long. 

Danish married couple Erika and Martin Damsbo contested the compound title matches. Erika was up first, against surprise Swiss finalist and sixth seed Clementine de Giuli.

Ahead early, things fell apart for the Dane in the third end and she fell a point behind on score when she shot an eight.

But it was like a different archer stepped onto the shooting line in the fourth. Damsbo drilled three 10s to recover an advantage and rode that slim lead to a one-point victory, 141-140, after some last line calls went her way.

“We both looked at each other and thought it was a shoot-off, so it was a bit of a surprise actually,” said Erika. “It’s so amazing to stand on the line and feel like your whole body is shaking and you’re there going, I’d completely forgotten what this was like.”

“To come here and do this after such a long break, it was really amazing.”

Her husband also showed nerves early. He opened with three 10s but then dropped three points with a board of nines in the second. Just six arrows into the final, Martin trailed reigning Indoor Archery World Series Champion – and winner of this season’s first invitational event in Wohlen – Mike Schloesser by three.

It was too large a deficit to overcome and, by the fourth end, the focus was squarely on Mister Perfect’s chance at a perfect 150-point match. He held clean until the final shot but pushed that last arrow wide left, finishing on a 149 but taking a comfortable three-point victory.

“Of course I wanted to shoot that perfect 150. That last arrow, the beginning was not good enough and there’s not enough time to redo it so I just battled through it,” said the world number two, who added that he thought he still needed a couple more tournaments to be back into proper competition shape.

All four winners received a watch courtesy of World Archery’s timekeeping partner, Longines.

Thirty-one archers were invited to compete at this exhibition competition in Lausanne. Invitations were based on the results of the first remote stage of the indoor circuit and the archers’ position in the open ranking.

The ranking round scores of the three Dutch finalists will not be the results that count towards their open ranking for the second stage of the Indoor Archery World Series.

Due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel plans, the three archers shot an event in the Netherlands on Friday to ensure they would register results as they all represent teams on the circuit. Gaby and Steve are shooting for a top Dutch Olympic squad; Mike is part of an international TRUBall/Axcel Archery trio.

The Lausanne Invitational coincided with the second remote stage of the 2021 Indoor Archery World Series. More than 5000 archers worldwide registered to participate.

Initial results for the remote event are expected on Tuesday 22 December with results finalised two weeks after the competition, following checks of the results lists, target faces and scorecards submitted as evidence.

The third stage of the Indoor Archery World Series is scheduled for 15-17 January 2021. It is likely to be accompanied by another invitational following the one-week delay of the Sud de France – Nimes Archery Tournament.

The 2021 Indoor Archery World Series is a mass-participation circuit of live and online archery tournaments.

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