King of Sports Chapter 29: Semi-finals 1
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After the national anthem, the semi-finals of the National Archery Championships men's team competition officially started.
First up was the Guangdong team who ranked second in qualifiers and the Macau team who ranked third. The two teams were of roughly equal strength. The game left everyone anxious until the end. At the crucial moment, Cao Yan showed his role as an ace and shot two 10 pointers, helping the Guangdong Province to beat the Macau team by 226 to 225.
The first game was a wonderful showdown which acted as a strong appetizer, making the audience's excitement extraordinarily high.
Next up was the current champions, the Shanghai team vs the shocking dark horse that is the Zhejiang team.
The champions Vs the underdogs such a showdown filled the audience with expectations.
There was a 10-minute interval between each round of competition. After the break interval, under the gazes of the audience the team members of the Shanghai and Zhejiang provinces finally debuted.
"It finally begins, although this is only the semi-final, such a showdown between the current champions and the rising underdogs is undoubtedly thrilling.
Will Zhejiang Provinces, Tang Yan be able to carry on the miracle and carry his team to victory or will he be suppressed by the behemoth that is the Shanghai Team." In CCTV's broadcast room, the well-known sports commentator Yang Jian said emotionally.
"This game is indeed worth looking forward to. The Shanghai Team has two major forces, Qiu Tian and Han Tianfu. This year, they have once again managed to neatly eliminate their opponents. If they can defeat the Zhejiang Team they will be through to defend their title in hopes of achieving their third consecutive Championship." came a strong reply.
Next to Yang Jian, was the former national men's archery team captain, now the current vice president of the Archery Association, Zhao Qiuhe. It was he who had just spoken.
"Now that would be a sight to behold wouldn't it. No team has ever managed to win three in a row. I'm sure the Zhejiang Province will try it's utter most to prevent it especially that Tang Yan of theirs. Whose had an especially stunning tournament so far. From the information we are hearing it's his first official tournament debut as well, now you can see why many are comparing him to the likes of Han Tianfu, Cao Yan. Today's matches should be especially exciting," Yang Jian added.
"That might not be so, there's a huge difference between the qualifiers and finals." Yang Jian's voice just fell, when Zhao Qiuhe said shaking his head.
"What do you mean?" Yang Jian didn't think that Zhao Qiuhe would suddenly say so, as such he looked over at him with a puzzled look.
"Archery is a sport that pays great attention to skill and talent but especially mental fortitude." Zhao Qiuhe said with a proud attitude. "The qualifiers reflects more of the player's skill and talent, just like you said Tang Yan is talented, although I didn't see his performance yesterday there have been many like him. Young player's with blockbuster performances in the qualifiers though not many now our days, there are plenty in history but..."
"The finals and qualifiers are different. In the finals of the team competition, only those with strong psychological qualities can become the final winners, people like the likes of Ning Yuyu, Qiu Tian and Han Tianfu. Will have an absolute advantage in the finals. In other words, even a once in a lifetime genius might only be able to preform to 60% of their ability due to the pressure. Whereas archers though less stunning in some areas can preform at 100%. With more time and experience Tang Yan will have a great future after gaining more fortitude but I don't think this will be his competition."
"But... Tang Yan performed very well in the quarter-finals..."
Zhao Qiuhe didn't wait for Yang Jian to finish, and directly reached out and interrupted him. "Do you think that the Shanghai Team with Qiu Tian and Han Tianfu will lose to a rookie? Rember as well this is a team competition other than Tang Yan who else can match up to them. Also the Zhejiang Team had been particularly lucky managing to avoid all the stronger teams up till now. "
Although Yang Jian still wanted to refute, Zhao Qiuhe was a former national team captain, he couldn't really continue arguing in the studio, so he changed his tone and said: "Well, Zhao Qiuhe's analysis is very reasonable, then let us watch and see how the two teams preform."
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"Of course!" said Zhao Qiuhe, he knew Yang Jian's heart was not convinced, and so he shook his head with a smile.
When the two people in the studio were in a heated discussion, the archers from the Shanghai and Zhejiang Provinces had already entered the competition venue.
The team competition, as the name suggests, looks at the combined strength of a team of three people.
A good archer could raise the upper limit of the whole team, but the same was true for the opposite as well.
Because the team competition was a one-on-one contest, the order of appearance had a considerable impact on the team, and each team was very cautious in setting a formation.
Among the three positions, the third archer was the most important, because in a high-level competition, after the two players before shot, it was likely that there would be leveled scores, or the scores would be very close. At this time, the third archer could make or break the game.
In the Zhejiang Team, Song Feng fulfilled his promise to Tang Yan and arranged him as the third archer.
Of the remaining two spots, Dong Jie, who played more stable yesterday, was placed in the first spot and Pan Yu automatically became the second player to shoot.
In the Shanghai Team, the order was: Ning Yuyu, Qiu Tian and Han Tianfu.
The teams would play a total of 4 rounds. In each round, each player alternately shot 2 arrows according to the order of appearance. So there were 6 arrows in total per round. The team with the most points won.
The first to appear were Ning Yuyu and Dong Jie, two veterans known for their stability.
As the players got ready, the audience became quiet.
Ning Yuyu took the lead in shooting after a coin flip. The veteran who was over 30 years old, scored 17 points and made a good start to the game.
After Ning Yuyu finished shooting, next was Dong Jie. He took a deep breath and went to the court. He also shot 2 arrows and 17 points under the pressure, which led to a cheering scene.
At the beginning of the game, the atmosphere at the scene was already ignited.
After the two arrows, the two sides were tied, and up next was Qiu Tian and Pan Yu.
The order of the Shanghai Team was somewhat unexpected, but Qiu Anguo had arranged for Qiu Tian to shoot second, apparently hoping to establish a leading edge earlier.
And Qiu Tian showed why he had his reputation by shooting two 9 pointers, and the result of 18 points also attracted a burst of exclamation from the audience.
After the 4 arrows, the Shanghai Team had 35 points. Which was a very good result reflecting the absolute strength of the defending champions.
Next up was Pan Yu for the Zhejiang Province.
After Song Feng's private talk yesterday, although Pan Yu's mentality was still somewhat fluctuating, it was much better than yesterday. He managed to shoot two 8 pointers earning 16 points which was neither good nor bad overall but it meant they fell behind by 2 points.
The score was 35-33.
Both sides brought out their last archers.
Tang Yan vs Han Tianfu.
"Tang Yan is up." In the studio, Yang Jian said with some excitement.
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