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Britain biggest winner on archery field
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13:23, September 14, 2008

Britain was the biggest winner on the Paralympic archery field on Saturday, as its archers gained two gold medals and a bronze from four events.

In the women's individual compound, the blonde Danielle Brown overwhelmingly edged Japanese Chieko Kamiya 112-98.

Brown started well in the first of the four three-shot series by impressing spectators with two 10s. Although she finished with a 7, the 20-year-old world championships gold medalist gained a slim advantage of one point.

In the following nine shots, the world record holder pulled away from her Japanese rival with four 10s and five 9s, while Kamiya had her scores fluctuated from 6 to 10.

"I was very happy. It was fantastic to compete in such a big event," said the British Paralympic debutant. "I just went out there shooting. I didn't really expect anything because anything can go wrong."

Her teammate Mel Clarke brushed Gulbin Su from Turkey to win the bronze.

In the men's individual compound competition, another British John Stubbs beat Italian Alberto Simonelli 116-111 with his stable performance, especially in the third series, when the 43-year-old veteran archer posted a 10-10-10 that rocked the audience.

"I was absolutely over the moon and now it is a reality. A Paralympic gold medal is like a dream come true," he said. "I didn't expect anything more. I just shot well every time I came to the court. I was extremely calm today. I just kept my inner emotions under control and shot well."

Talking about his competitors, the man who was disabled in a road accident said. "It's not a competitor that you have to beat. You have to beat yourself."

In two other competitions, Chinese archers managed to enter the final before losing the chance at the last moment.

Gao Fangxia finished second in women's individual recurve standing event with 11 points less than the gold medalist Lee Hwa-sook.

However, the girl said she was satisfied with the performance as it was her personal best. "It is not easy to reach the final. Thank everybody for support, especially from the spectators," she said. Gao bowed to the spectators who had been encouraging her and waving the Chinese national flag throughout the final.

Looking into the future, the baby-faced archer who became disabled after a fire, said, "I definitely want to win a gold medal next time. Though South Korea has the ability, China has even more. We will meet at the next Paralympic Games."

Her teammate Fu Hongzhi seemed closer to the gold of women's individual recurve w1/w2.

Despite a not-so-good start, the 26-year-old from Guangdong province achieved 23 points in the first series, two points ahead of her rival Gizen Girismen from Turkey.

The second series saw a slight slack of the archer as Girismen reduced the gap to one point.

In the third series, the Turkish stunned everybody by scoring a lowest 4, but Fu, who collected 7-7-7, failed to grasp the chance, although she was still one point ahead.

Girismen rallied in the last series, in which she achieved 27 points. The long-haired Chinese then seemed out of gear, and was finally outscored 85-91.

"I didn't shoot very well today, not as good as the first day. It was a lack of strength. My coach told me to use more strength while shooting. I tried but failed. Possibly because I'm too tired after all these days' competition," she wept.

What could relieve her a little bit was that her teammate Xiao Yanhong grabbed bronze in the event, defeating Japanese Aya Nakanishi 98-94.

"I kind of fell in love with myself (because I performed well)," she said after the competition, "I feel like I was fighting against myself the whole time."

Three gold medals will be produced on the archery field on Sunday, from events of men's individual compound, men's individual recurve standing, as well as men's individual recurve w1/w2.


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