DUBAI – Lia Coryell, the USA’s first and only women W1 archer, has fought to hell and back countless times to leave her legacy on this planet. Overcoming childhood trauma, her MS diagnosis, numerous health battles in the global pandemic, and giving it everything to shoot on the world stage at two Paralympic Games, Coryell doesn’t talk of winning, just of showing up, shooting her shot, and leaving her mark. She’s a rebel with a cause.
After finishing fourth at Tokyo 2020 this past summer, her biggest international accomplishment to date, Coryell again showed the world she’s not done, and today she took center stage at the 2022 World Archery Para Championships to shoot for gold. In her fourth world para championships appearance, she finally claimed the long-awaited title.
Coryell qualified 6th earlier this week in a stacked field of talent. In the quarterfinals, shooting against the Russian Archery Federation’s Anna Ilina, the two went back and forth each end in a tight-scoring match; both posted 128s, for the highest scores across the field. The tiebreaker shootoff came down to a caliper measure and Coryell was determined the winner over the No. 3 seed.
In the semifinals, Coryell met Korea’s Kim Ok Geum, against whom she has a strong winning record, including the Paralympic quarterfinals just months ago. It was another blowout in Coryell’s favor, 125-113. Simultaneously, Top seed Elena Krutova of the Russian Archery Federation fell to Turkey’s 5th seed Nil Misir, guaranteeing an exciting gold match with two well-paired archers.
Coreyll and Misir went back and forth in a nail-biter of a final. Coryell took an early lead 28-26, Misir fought back for a 52-51 lead, then with a perfect X to close the third set, Coryell jumped back up 77-76. Then, Coryell turned up the heat, capitalizing on some errant shots from her opponent, bringing the score to 102-98 and then closing out with two solid 10s in her final two arrows to seal the win 130-124. Coryell, so focused on her shooting, didn’t realize she’d won; she was convinced she had another end to shoot as those around her began celebrating her win.
“It was epic,” commented Coryell. “I thought I had more arrows to shoot and was arguing that we shouldn’t celebrate yet. This is for all the kids that got picked last in kickball or made fun of in the lunch line. I didn’t even become an athlete until age 50, and now I’m a world champion! It’s never too late to rebel with intention.”
Overcome with emotion, Coryell beamed on the top of the podium as the national anthem played. Coryell is a United States Army Veteran who got a late start to her archery career in 2015 at the age of 50. Coryell has progressive Multiple Sclerosis, but she has never allowed that to define her. She champions the phrase: “You are not your diagnosis.”
Because these World Championships were postponed from 2021, there is now only one year until the next edition in 2023, with the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games closer in sight. While there were times Coryell felt uncertain she would make it to Tokyo, now, undoubtedly, the world has a lot left to witness from Lia Coryell as she continues to inspire and impress.
Earlier today, Visually Impaired archer Janice Walth finished 8th in a quarterfinal loss to Italy’s Daniele Piran.
After Matt Stutzman claimed gold in yesterdays’ compound men open final, and Coryell’s big win today, Team USA’s excitement level is high headed into tomorrow’s recurve open finals. Medal matches will be broadcast live via World Archery TV, and live results are available on the World Archery website.
About USA Archery
USA Archery is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of archery in the United States. USA Archery selects and trains Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup teams, as well as developing archery at the grassroots level across the United States. For more information, visit www.usarchery.org.