Spain’s Miguel Avarino Garcia dominated the men’s individual event in the final session of archery on day ten of the Baku European Games by beating Sjef van den Berg of the Netherlands 7-1.
Van den Berg started well to draw the first set with Garcia and score a point, but quickly saw the final turn in favour of the Spaniard in the second set as Garcia scored an impressive 29 points out of 30 compared to van den Berg’s 27.
Once Garcia’s lead of 3-1 had been established after the first two sets, van den Berg was unable to recover and although the final continued to be closely contested, the Dutchman ended up losing the remaining two sets 28-27 and 29-28 as his counterpart ran away to claim the gold.
“I am super happy. I dedicate this victory to all my family and the people who have been here with me,” said Garcia, who cried tears of joy during the medal ceremony. “There is so much emotion.”
“I was already shooting very well and I was expecting a medal but the fact that it is a gold medal, it is so wonderful.
“Now that I have a gold medal, I will feel less pressure to prove myself. Now that I have shown what I am capable of achieving individually, I can be more relaxed when I shoot.”
The bronze medal match was a less cut-and-dried affair, however, as Belarus’ Anton Prilepov endured a tough match to triumph over Poland’s Slawomir Naploszek 7-3.
Prilepov, who had earlier beat pre-tournament favourite Rick van der Ven of the Netherlands, won the first set and drew the second to lead 3-1. The Belorussian then suffered a defeat in the third set as Naploszeck scored a 29, but Prilepov recovered enough to take the last two sets to ensure a place on the podium.
The Italians proved to be the strongest in the archery events by topping the final medal table.
Elsewhere, Austria missed out on winning a gold in the athletics in the men’s 4×400 metres relay when second leg runner Gunther Matzinger dropped the baton less than 80 metres from the next changeover, enabling Slovakia to take the title by the narrowest of margins.
With an advantage of 5.5 points over the Slovaks in the athletics event which doubled as a third-tier European team championships, all the Austrians needed to do was to finish within five places of the eventual winners.
The event run over two heats, it initially appeared as if the Austrians had salvaged the title by coming in sixth after the baton drop. But when it emerged that the Georgians had posted a time almost two seconds quicker in the other heat, the Austrians fell down into seventh place while the Slovaks celebrated the surprise victory.
“It’s really awesome. We have been competing very hard,” said Slovakia’s Martin Kucera who won the gold alongside his team mates. “Everybody did their best. We were fighting till the end.”
“Anything can happen in athletics, you never know who is gong to win.”
The Slovakian victory by 0.5 points over the Austrians secured them a promotion from he third league to the second.
And to cap off the evening, Russia displayed their dominance in Sambo by claiming five of the eight available golds.
Anna Kharitonova took the first title for Russia by beating home favourite Nazakat Khalilova in the women’s 52 kilogram classification while compatriot Aymergen Atkunov defeated Azerbaijan’s Islam Gasumov in the men’s under 57 kilogram classification.
The success for Russia continued as Yana Kosteno triumphed over Bulgaria’s Kalina Stefanova in the women’s under 60 kilogram category and Alsim Chernoskulov denied Belarus a third gold medal in Sambo as he on the men’s under 90 kilogram final.
Azerbaijan then suffered their third final defeat as Artem Osipenko of Russia won the men’s over 100 kilogram category over Vasif Safarbayov.
“Russia as the origin of this sport should do very well and this is what we did,” Osipenko told reporters.
“Sambo is getting more popular and there were many spectators here and of course they supported their countrymen. Their athletes performed very well and the audience gave them great support.
Belarus’ two golds came in the men’s under 74 kilogram and women’s under 64 kilogram categories while Serbia’s gold was through a win in the women’s under 68 kilogram final.