The competition in the men’s recurve event was stiff at the 2023 world archery championships in Berlin on Sunday, but Canadian Eric Peters held strong versus the world’s best to secure the best individual result of his international career with a silver-medal finish.
The Ottawa native, ranked 31st in the individual men’s recurve standings, was pitted versus the reigning Olympic champion Mete Gazoz in the final, ultimately falling 6-4 to the Turkish competitor.
The 26-year-old Canadian jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first set and knotted the gold-medal game at 4 in the fourth set.
But Gazoz, 24, prevailed in the fifth and final set to combat Peters hitting four consecutive perfect scores across the fourth and fifth sets.
The silver medal, which earned Canada an Olympic quota spot for Paris 2024, stands as Canada’s first at the worlds (held bi-annually) since Christopher Perkins, Kevin Tataryn and Dietmar Trillus combined to take silver in the men’s team compound event in 2015 in Denmark.
Canada’s last individual medal at the world championships was at the 2013 games when Crispin Duenas won men’s recurve bronze in Turkey.
World No. 1 Marcus Vinicius D’Almeida of Brazil claimed bronze with a 6-4 triumph over Arif Dwi Pangestu of Indonesia after falling to Gazoz in the semifinals 7-3.
Beginning with a field of 167 competitors in the qualification round on Tuesday, that number was whittled down to 104 to participate in an elimination bracket from Thursday through Sunday with Peters needing seven consecutive victories to claim the title.
The Canadian nearly got there, dispatching No. 86 Kaj Sjöberg of Sweden 6-0 in the first round and No. 89 Maximilian Weckmueller of Germany 6-2 in the second round. Before stunning No. 14 Lee Woo-seok 7-3 in the third round.
It was the first match of the elimination round for the South Korean after being afforded two byes for finishing fourth after qualification.
Peters then upped that result by taking down No. 2 Florian Unruh of Germany 6-4 in the Round of 16 to wrap up Thursday’s action and qualify for the final round on Sunday.
He defeated another top-10 competitor in No. 9 Steve Wijler of the Netherlands with a 6-4 result later, also defeating No. 182 Pangestu 7-3 in the semis. The silver medal is a third for Peters at major international competitions. He earned bronze in the men’s individual recurve and a gold in the team’s event alongside Crispin Duenas and Brian Maxwell at the 2019 Pan American Games.