The USA’s Trenton Cowles won the men’s recurve individual gold at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Thursday 17 October, completing a journey he began with two hand controls in front of the TV six years ago.
“I started archery by playing it in a video game,” the 16-year-old said after beating Akash Akash of India 6-0 to claim gold in the final archery event of the YOG. “And I thought, ‘I want to try this in real life.’ I was really bad at it but I was determined to get good at it and now I’m here.
“This event has reminded me of it a lot – just the fact that I’ve progressed so much in the sport. I started from nothing and I’m here at the Youth Olympics, winning a gold medal.”
Though the transition from games console to a real bow and arrow was not an easy one, following many hours of dedicated practice at the range Cowles is now a world-class archer and a not-so-proficient video gamer.
“I can’t play the video game anymore,” he said. “My love for the sport is here now. I haven’t played that game for a long time.”
Cowles, who did not lose a set in the competition and recorded 6-0 victories in the quarter-final, semi-final and final, believes shooting with his left hand helped him cope with the wind at the Archery Range.
“I got lucky today because the wind’s a left-to-right wind, which for me as a leftie helps me brace my shot,” said Cowles, who is ambidextrous. “I think it’s a little advantage. On the mixed international team event, the wind was a right-to-left and it’s hard to keep your bow-arm up with contradicting winds to your bow-arm.”
Top-seeded Injun Song of Republic of Korea fell to a surprise 7-1 quarter-final defeat to Senna Roos of Belgium. Though Roos then lost his semi-final to Akash, he came back to claim the bronze by beating Artem Ovchynnikov of Ukraine 7-3.