Brazilian archers are Rio’s living legacy

Nation dominates Pan Ams as sport grows after Paralympics

female Para archer Jane Gogel pulls back an arrow ready to shoot Jane Gogel is one of the Brazilian archers benefitting from post-Paralympics support © • Daniel Zappe/MPIX/CPB

Brazilian archers Jane Karla Gogel and Fabiola Dergovics are living legacies of their home Paralympic Games in 2016, as they proved once again their winning forms at the 2018 Para Pan American Championships in Medellin, Colombia.

At the competition in August, both women emerged at the top of their individual competition fields; Gogel coming first in the women’s compound open while teammate Dergovics mirrored this result in the women’s recurve open.

“I believe that the commitment of the athletes involved, together with the government’s assistance in the form of a scholarship before the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games continued the legacy and maturation of the delegation as a whole,” Dergovics said. “These (factors) are very important in making the Brazilian team a very strong team.”

It is not just Dergovics and Gogel excelling in archery.

Brazil captured top spots in both mixed recurve and compound team events at the Pan Americans, another showing of the country’s growing strength in the sport.

Gogel, who is world No. 1 in her category, said there are many other factors to Brazil’s success.

“Each athlete has their own way to practice,” Gogel said. “In my case, there is no secret. I just work with determination and am always trying to be better. In the end, the results are the consequences of this daily work.”

Different expectations

In Medellin, Dergovics was surprised by her double victory in the individual and team events. But winning gave her the confidence to know what she has been doing is working.

“I changed my shooting technique one month before this competition,” Dergovics said. “I was still in the process of adapting and was not sure what would happen, but I did well. I am very excited and happy with this new technique and I have already had great performance feedback. Surely, there is room for improvement in upcoming competitions.”

For Gogel, expectations were understandably higher coming to Medellin, but the archer did not let her own stellar track record become a source of extra pressure.

“Every competition, my main goal is to give my best and win new medals, as much as possible,” Gogel said. “That feeling did not change due to the fact that I am No. 1 in the world, but it is a great feeling to see my name at the top of the world ranking list. I hope that this achievement can make this sport more prominent.”

Same target

The archers also know they have to see how they stack up outside the Americas region, especially if they want to reach their ultimate aim.

“My focus is the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, but before there are the World Championships that I want to have good results at and to win a medal for Brazil,” Gogel said.

Dergovics said her goal is to “continue to evolve my shooting and performance for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and for other competitions, aiming at podiums and achieving an international index for eligibility.”