Kitchener’s Benjamen Lee qualifies for 2018 Summer Youth Olympics Five Canadian archers also competed in World Ranking Event in Guatemala City
Archery Canada – OTTAWA (Archery Canada) – Benjamen Lee of Kitchener, Ont., secured a spot in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics archery competition thanks to an impressive second-place finish in men’s cadet recurve at the American Continental Qualifier held in Guatemala City, Guatemala, from May 7-12.
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Complete Results (Guatemala City): Results
With only two spots up for grabs for the quadrennial multisport event set for October 6-18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lee, the lone Canadian to take part in the YOG qualifying tournament, was stellar in the ranking round, tying for second in a field of 17 competitors with 637 points.
Seeded second heading into the single-elimination stage, a position which earned him a first-round bye, the 15-year-old notched back-to-back 6-0 victories in his first two head-to-head matches versus 15th-seeded Rubio Caballeros Julio Fernando of Guatemala, in the round of 16, and against seventh-seeded Kevin Stanley Mercado Palma of El Salvador, in the quarterfinals.
Needing one more win to punch his ticket to Buenos Aires, Lee fell behind early in his semifinal duel with sixth-seeded Nicholas D’Amour of the Virgin Islands but battled back for a 6-4 triumph. The young Canadian went on to drop a 6-0 decision to fourth-seeded Hazael Rodriguez of Cuba in the gold-medal final.
Thanks to his exceptional showing, Lee ensured Canadian representation in archery for the third straight Summer Youth Olympics, following in the footsteps of Toronto’s Timon Park and Ottawa’s Eric Peters, who wore the Maple Leaf in 2010 (Singapore) and 2014 (Nanjing, China), respectively. Peters returned from China with a bronze medal in mixed team competition, earned alongside Finland’s Mirjam Tuokkola.
“With only 32 spots per gender up for grabs and 160 member countries, winning a YOG spot for the third time in a row is exciting. I think Ben will be an excellent competitor in Buenos Aries, and will represent Canada well,” said national recurve coach Shawn Riggs, who headed the Canadian delegation in Guatemala City. “My only wish is that next time we can secure spots for both genders.
“Last year, Ben competed at the Youth World Championships in Rosario, Argentina, and surprised all of us with a fifth-place finish, in his first year in the cadet category. Our initial goal for him was to win one match, which would have meant a top-32 finish.”
World Ranking Event
Lee was not the only Canadian archer competing in Guatemala City over the past week as five of his countrymen were also on site to take part in a World Ranking Event, including Rémi Gervais of Montreal and Hayden Edwards of Toronto in junior recurve, as well as Brad Fulsang of Peterborough, Ont., Andrew Azores of Hamilton and the aforementioned Eric Peters of Ottawa in senior recurve.
“For archers not trying to win Youth Olympic spots, this event is important as part of the season from a preparation perspective,” stated Riggs. “It is really the kick-off to the competition season.”
Of the group, Gervais, who also represented Canada at last October’s Youth World Championships in the junior division, had the best showing, finishing first in the ranking round with a personal-best score of 643 before going on to capture the junior gold medal thanks to a 6-2 semifinal win over fourth-seeded Santiago Enrique Prado Odar of Peru and a 6-0 blanking against third-seeded Juan Painevil Navarro of Chile in the title match.
Seeded second heading into the single-elimination stage after posting a 616 score, Edwards finished fourth overall after dropping consecutive 6-4 decisions to Painevil Navarro in the semis and Prado Odar in the bronze-medal confrontation.
“I’m quite excited that Rémi was able to lead the junior category pretty much from the first arrow and walk away with two gold medals, including his first-place finish in the ranking round,” said Riggs. “It would have been nice to see the one-two finish from the ranking round repeated in the elimination round but we’ll save that for Medellin, the next time our juniors compete as a team internationally.”
At the senior level, Fulsang (634), Azores (616) and Peters (581) placed sixth, ninth and 16th in the ranking round, respectively.
After earning a first-round bye in the elimination tournament, Fulsang went on to tie for fifth overall thanks to a 6-0 victory over Dominican opponent Jim Raven Rosario in the round of 16, followed by a 6-0 quarterfinal loss to fourth-seeded Thomas Flossbach of Guatemala.
For their part, Azores and Peters both tied for ninth. The former merited a first-round bye before losing 6-2 against El Salvador’s Oscar Ticas in the round of 16, while the latter, who just recently graduated to senior competition, dominated Guatemala’s Jose Carlos Lopez 6-0 in the round of 32 before suffering a 6-4 defeat at the hands of Chile’s Andres Aguilar, the top-seeded and eventual silver medallist.
“Andrew is an alumnus of our TOPS program, which is designed to provide competition programming to athletes who self-identify,” said Riggs. “He participated in two TOPS Camps in 2016 and 2017, and has quickly made it on to the national training squad. This was his first time wearing the Team Canada colours. Undoubtedly, he has taken a couple of key points away from this competition and will use them as a springboard for the rest of the season.”
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