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- 03. March 2008.

Hopes for 2008-World Cup Winner Petra Ericsson

Feature by FITA

I’ve been asked to write some lines about myself, about my archery life so far and a resume of the 2007 season. It is not easy to know where to start and what to write, and what might be of interest for you as readers. So I guess I’ll just write the things that I would like to learn about other archers. I’ve been an archer since the age of 10, which means that I celebrate 25 years as an archer this year. So now you all know how old I am! I live on the west coast of Sweden.
For 2007, Mats Inge, who is my husband and coach, and I discussed what to focus on this season. Since we fund almost everything ourselves, we couldn’t go to all the international tournaments, so we decided that I should focus on the World Cup events, and really try to qualify for the World Cup Final. The season started very early for us, with an indoor FITA event in Norway in February. I couldn’t have asked for better answers on my tests with new stiffer arrows and changes in technique, I started with a 1418 on the full FITA and several results over 350 on the 70-meter rounds.
Stage 2 of the World Cup in Varese was my first outdoor tournament, and I was very excited to be there. This was the first step on the way to the final in Dubai! We compound ladies were very fortunate with the competition schedule, since we didn’t have to endure the torrential rain that the men had to during their qualification. As the tournament started, I felt that my form was good, and now I just had to hope for some luck in the eliminations as well. As you all know, to be successful in a tournament you need to be in good form, have good equipment, and have a bit of luck in the eliminations. In the end, I found myself in the gold final together with Jamie Van Natta. It was a final that gave the spectators some extra excitement--parachute jumpers performing a display jump with red, green and white smoke landed next to the finals venue while we were shooting. That was a new experience! During the 12 arrows in the final, I managed to keep my focus on my shooting form, and I managed to win and take home 25 points in the World Cup ranking. So far so good!
Next leg was in Antalya, and I was looking forward to the tournament since I have always enjoyed the tournaments there. This year was a bit special for me and my husband since we celebrated our first anniversary during the week in Antalya. The tournament went well, and I was happy with the way I performed. I lost my match in the quarter final by just one point--I got stuck in the wind on one arrow. But that’s the way it is, there are no room for mistakes in the short matches we have today. I just had to go home and practise more in the wind to be better prepared for the next leg in Dover and the World Championships in Leipzig.
One week after Leipzig, we packed our car and drove to England. The World Cup ranking before this tournament showed that there were at least six of us who had a chance to reach the final in Dubai. Anna Kasantzeva was already qualified, and the rest of us had to prove ourselves in Dover. After a tight match with Nicola Simpson I managed to get a shoot off. Just as we were about to shoot our single arrow, the sky opened and the rain poured down on us. We both managed to shoot a good shot, but I was fortunate enough to score a nine compared to Nicola’s eight. By winning this match the place for Dubai was safe! The gold final was once again a match between Jamie Van Natta and me. This time Jamie was the strongest one and won the match. We both made it to Dubai, along with Sofia Goncharova and Anna Kasantzeva.
After that, came several months of preparation for the final in November. As you might guess, the weather in Sweden is not ideal for outdoor archery in late September, October and November so I had to think of other ways to prepare. One way was to keep one of my bows tuned for X10s and once every now and then shoot with it indoors at 18 meters aiming high on the shooting wall. This was almost exactly the same angle for the body as you have when shooting 70 meters outdoor. That way, I was able to maintain the shooting form needed for shooting outdoors. I also shot a couple of indoor tournaments with finals, just to still be used to the match format and be prepared mentally for the finals. So finally, it was time for the trip to Dubai! I was really looking forward to it; however, I was a bit concerned about the flight since I now was almost six months pregnant. It went well and my husband and I arrived in Dubai totally focused on the final. The venue at the hotel was great! The FITA staff had made a practice and a competition venue over the water and it looked great.
Finally, it was Saturday and time for the 24 arrows that the entire season had been about. In the semi-final I felt very confident and excited, but in the first two ends I didn’t perform as well as I knew I could--I trailed Anna, and had to fight hard to tie the match. The shoot-off arrow was, however, one of my best shots, and I managed to go on to the Gold Final. Maybe I was a bit concerned about the baby giving me a few kicks in the beginning of the match…
When it was time for the gold medal match, against Sofia, I was totally focused on performing good shots and just following my plan. I had great support from my husband who kept reminding me to keep it simple and just shoot good shots. I must say that the first eleven arrows of that match were as close to perfect as I can come. It was a great feeling. Before my last arrow I heard George announce that I had already clinched the match, which made it a bit difficult to keep my focus on the last arrow. But it was a great feeling to shoot the last arrow knowing that we had reached the goal we set early in January! It was a great experience to share with Mats Inge (and the baby) and also my family who were watching the final on TV at home.
When we sat on the plane home the day after, I tried to summarize the season and evaluate what we had done during the season to be as prepared as possible, but it was still a bit unreal. It took me a while after we got home before I really could make a serious evaluation. All in all, I can say that I’m very happy with the way we planned, performed, practised and competed during 2007.
So what about 2008 for us? I’m still shooting local tournaments, and my aim is to keep on as long as I can. The baby is expected early in March. Then I hope to shoot some outdoors this year, but the baby comes first! Who knows, maybe I’ll see some of you at some tournament later this year?
I wish you all a great archery year in 2008!
Petra Ericsson
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