The archery competition at the Minsk 2019 European Games offers Olympic qualification for recurve mixed teams and individual slots, and follows hot on the heels of the world championships.
While the Republic of Korea and Chinese Taipei were dominant in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, this month, there were also top performances by many European athletes who will be in action in Minsk.
The competition in the Belarusian capital will have extra impetus with the winners of the recurve mixed team competition earning National Olympic Committee (NOC) quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Individual slots for Tokyo will also be up for grabs with the NOC of the three highest-ranked athletes earning one quota place each in the relevant gender.
If that NOC already has a quota place in that gender it will be reallocated to a final individual qualification tournament to be held at the end of the qualification period.
In the recurve mixed team event at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, there was silver for the Netherlands - the nation's first world championship medal in the event.
Gabriela Bayardo joined the recurve world indoor individual and team champion Sjef van den Berg at their home event and they will be among the main contenders in Minsk.
Van den Berg was fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and should be on course for Tokyo 2020 after the Netherlands qualified the full men’s quota of three.
Italy's Mauro Nespoli and Vanessa Landi claimed bronze in the recurve mixed team in ‘s-Hertogenbosch with the former set to lock horns with van den Berg in the individual event in Minsk.
Steve Wijler, who is the top-ranked European as world No.3, and 2018 men’s World Archery Athlete of the Year Mete Gazoz of Turkey are also in the field and will make for a fearsome competition.
Great Britain won bronze in the recurve women’s team event at what was a highly successful performance at ‘s-Hertogenbosch as they qualified a full men’s and women’s quota for Tokyo 2020.
Great Britain's Sarah Bettles was one of the three-strong team who defeated China and said the medal had eased their burden of expectation.
“We’ve already achieved our goals of full Olympic quota places for both the men’s and women’s teams at the world championships, which takes a little pressure off going into Minsk," Bettles said.
“Now it’s time to refocus and enjoy the competition.
“Both teams are looking to carry on the success we have had at the world championships and continue dominating at the European Games.”
Russia's Kseniia Perova, Germany's flagbearer Lisa Unruh and Turkey's Yasemin Anagoz are among the contenders for the women’s recurve title.
Turkey and the Netherlands claimed silver and bronze in the men’s compound team event at ‘s-Hertogenbosch behind the Republic of Korea, while Pierre-Julien Deloche-Gros and Sophie Dodemont won France’s only medal at the event with silver in the mixed compound team.
Both will compete in Minsk with Deloche-Gros on a run of medal-winning form after adding the world championship silver to his European indoor team gold medal at Samsun, Turkey, in March.
Dutch archer Mike Schloesser – known as 'Mister Perfect' since he shot the first perfect 600 in World Archery competition in 2015 – will be the man to beat in the men’s compound individual.
Among the favourites in the women's compound competition in Minsk is world indoor champion Natalia Avdeeva of Russia, who won the women’s compound title in the Netherlands.
The 30-year-old from Kaliningrad entered the world championships ranked 11 and it was her first medal at an international outdoor competition for three years.