Monday, September 15, 2008

Paralympic archery

Backdated post, published 9/26 at 3:29 a.m.

I bought archery tickets because of one reason: Zhang Juanjuan. If you remember, she was the Chinese archer who shocked the world -- a small world, perhaps, but shocked nonetheless -- by beating the No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 ranked archers in the world, in succession, to win gold at this summer's Games. Nos. 3, 2 and 1 all happened to be South Korean. So I was eager to go to the archery venue to see if anyone could recreate that excitement.

Who do you think China faced in the gold medal round in both the men's and women's team recurve open?

The Chinese women won 205-177, setting a world record in the process. Video here (the female voice you hear is Casey, who went with me to all three of the Paralympic events I'd attend):

The men didn't win, but they made things interesting. The Koreans held a commanding lead for most of the match, but one of their archers made a late crucial mistake to let China back in. The crowd erupted in unison when his score of 6 went up on the board -- the last shot of the second-to-last series. China, as you can see below, took advantage, scoring an 8, 9 and 10 on consecutive shots to pull within one.

Alas, South Korea buckled down and built a 27-point lead in their final series. China's final archer, Dong Zhi, needed a perfect 10 to tie, but he managed only a 7. South Korea won a thriller 209-206.

Recaps of both matches via Xinhua here.

This was the scene before the match:

And pictures:

Team China's men finishing off Italy in the semifinals.

At the main archery range (the above was a secondary one running parallel with the main range):

The crowd before the women's gold medal match.

South Korean women speak to media, fans.

After the women, the Italian men faced the Japanese for bronze (Italy won):

A commenter named ValiantBrownBear on my YouTube video (embedded above) wrote: "what the fuck is this? i can honestly say that korea has made more noise in that game!!!" That's highly doubtful, as the Korea cheering section was pretty much limited to what you see in the above picture. Still, VBB's point is taken: Korean fans did make lots of noise and should be commended, even if none of them looked like this:

I like the horns.

China's men shooting.

These flags could use a breeze.

The women's victory ceremony:

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