The first Archery medals of the Rio 2016 Paralympic
Games were up for grabs and they came in the Mixed Team Recurve Open.
In the team events there are 2 archers per team who fire 2 arrows each, whoever scores
the most wins the set and takes 2 set points, if it’s a draw then each team gets
1 point, and the first to 5 set points wins the match.
The battle for bronze pitted Italy’s pair of Roberto Airoldi and Elisabetta Mijno, who
won an individual silver in London, against Mongolia who’d surprised everyone by beating
Germany and 3rd seeds Poland before losing to China in the semi-finals.
And it was the Italians who comfortably took the first set 35-24 to establish a 2-0 lead
that became 3-1 after the second set was drawn 30 points all. That left Italy just
one set away from Paralympic bronze and under intense pressure Airoldi and Mijno held their
nerve to secure their place on the podium. The Gold medal match was a heavyweight clash
with Iran’s number 1 seeded pairing of Ebrahim Ranjbarkivaj and Zahra Nemati
going head to head with the number 2 seeds and reigning world champions China who were
represented by Zhao Lixue and Wu Chunyan.
And it was an encounter that lived up to expectations. Ranjbarkivaj and London 2012 individual gold
medallist Nemati took the first set 35-32. And the high standard continued
in the second set with both teams posting a score of 32 to give them a set point each.
That gave Iran a 3-1 lead and meant China desperately needed to win the 3rd set to keep
their dreams of Paralympic gold alive and Lixue and Wu responded taking it 34-31
to tie the match up at 3-3. So the stakes in the 4th set could not have
been higher. And it was an epic finish. Nemati needed an 8 to win it for Iran with the
final arrow but in difficult conditions she could only manage a 6 and China were champions