Canada’s top para-archers have one last chance to see how they stack up against the rest of the world prior to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Alec Denys, Kevin Evans and Karen Van Nest are the three Canadians competing at the Czech Target World Ranking Tournament, being hosted in Nove Mesto nad Metuji, Czech Republic from June 11-20. According to the tournament Facebook page, there are 251 archers from 49 countries competing at this Paralympic qualifier.
Denys and Evans are among 76 athletes vying for gold in the men’s individual open compound bow category. The compound open is for athletes who are limited with their leg and trunk movements, but whose arms function normally.
Denys, a Douro-Dummer, Ont. native, is the lone Canadian competing at this event who has not locked down a quota position for Rio. The five-time Paralympian — five consecutive appearances from 1984-2000 — needs a top-three finish to attain one of coveted spots. The 64-year-old is ranked No. 32 in the world.
Evans, a Paralympic competitor in 2008 and 2012, already secured a quota spot with his fourth-place finish in the compound open competition at the Toronto Parapan American Games last year (The top three-finishers were from the United States, but each country could only be awarded one quota place per category at these games). Evans, who lives in Jaffray B.C., is coming into this tourney with some momentum as he was runner-up in the compound open at the 2016 Parapan American Archery Championship in San Jose, Costa Rica in late May.
Van Nest, a 2012 Paralympian, has also earned a quota position as a result of her performance at the Parapan Ams last year. She captured a silver medal in the individual women’s compound bow event. The resident of Wiarton, Ont. finished first at the Parapan American championship. She is one of the 37 ladies competing for gold at this last-chance qualifier in Nove Mesto.
Evans and Van Nest are also eligible to contend for the mixed team medals.
The qualification round for the individual compound bow matches begins on June 14, while the team events commence on June 16.
Team medals will be contested for on June 18. The medal winners in the individual categories will be decided a day later.
While Evans and Van Nest have a quota spot, they have not been officially confirmed as members of Canada’s para-archery team for the Rio Games. The announcement of the 2012 team came in late June.
Featured and body photograph credit:
Photo: Dan Galbraith/Canadian Paralympic Committee