Arrows hit the target

Perhaps the archery European Championships may get lost amongst all the other events around the world, but our competitors have not allowed it to pass them by

By Dmitry Baranovsky

Perhaps the archery European Championships may get lost amongst all the other events around the world, but our competitors have not allowed it to pass them by. In the Armenian city of Etchmiadzin, which played host to the European Championships, they won two medals: Anton Prilepov became a silver medallist in the men’s individual competitions and bronze in the duet with Yelena Tolkach.

There were also two more appearances into the eights. However, the head coach of the national archery team, Sergey Pupkevich, who set the goals for the European Championships, explained what is happening in his favourite sport and how he is sure that his team could develop even more successfully.

“At the competition in Armenia there were Olympic champions along with winners and prize-winners of other big competitions. Under those conditions, against such good competition, we were able to take two medals. It is a good result. But it was possible to perform even better. For example, with the men’s team. One month ago we were in tournament of the Grand Prix series in Sofia. The men’s team won there with a country record, and in individual competitions they also did well: Pavel Dalidovich became the first, Alexander Lyagushev was second and Anton Prilepov, fifth.

Probably, you expected more from the women’s team which one year ago won Silver at the World Championship?

After qualification, they were the sixth, but as a result they unfortunately conceded to the English team in the round of 16. They have not coped with the excitement, plus the heat probably also affected them. During the competition the temperature rose to 40 degrees. And for the girls, of course, it was harder than for the men.

It seems, that until recently Belarusian archery has led a mostly silent and unnoticed life, however during the last few years you have returned from each World or European Championship with medals, as if it was a rule. Is this archery’s Renaissance?

We made a timely correction to mistakes and changed the preparation. Plus the changes to the Federation gave, in my opinion, a serious impulse to archery. When the post of the chairman was taken by Mikhail Amelianovich, the work of the Archery Federation and the Ministry of Sports became more co-ordinated and organised. And now it is reflected in the results.

Anton Prilepov, Alexander Lyagushev, Pavel Dalidovich, Anna Marusova — these are athletes who have been well-known for a long time. Who is coming up behind them?

It is possible to improve one’s own shooting for 3-4 years, but to fix at a good stable level it is necessary to perform for much longer. Generally, archery is a kind of sport for mature people, and for this reason the skeleton of our team consists of skilled athletes. But it does not mean that we have no reserve. Let’s assume that in May, Karina Deminskaya became the champion of Europe among the juniors, and now we want actively involve her into national team. In the near future, Karina, together with Ylena Tolkach, Anna Marusova and Yekaterina Timofeeva will go on the World Cup stage. There are also other potential athletes.

What are the plans for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro?

We move step by step. Something will be planned later. While now our paramount task is to win six licences. Team and individual licences will be drawn in a year at the World Championship in Denmark. Our task is to receive team licences (for this purpose, both the men’s and women’s teams should enter into the eight), after all, having them, the guys will be able to perform in Rio both in the team, and in individual events. We believe this is a real possibility, but for this purpose, of course, it is necessary to work hard.

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