by Guy Krueger
Recently, I decided to attend the 1st Mexican Grand Prix in
Mexico City. Since I had never been to a competition in South or Central
America, I really didn't know what to expect. I had heard a lot of things about
Mexico City and I was a bit nervous traveling there, but it was my experience
that it was not too bad of a place.
After arriving in the airport, Brian Funston, MJ Rogers, Jonathan Ohayan, and myself found the delegate from the Mexican federation and headed to their Olympic Training Center. We were all very surprised to see the difference in their training center compared to ours. Their dorm buildings were much larger, yet the rooms we stayed in were much smaller and for 4 people instead of 2 people. Also, to our amazement, there was no air conditioning in the room. We solved this problem later in the week when we bought a big portable rotating fan! There were facilities at their training center for all sports, so it was much larger than the ARCO center.
The first night, we ate dinner at a local restaurant. It was here that MJ explained that we would all be ill with Montezuma's Revenge by Thursday. Brian would not accept this answer and him and Jonathan quickly formulated a plan to staying healthy. Their plan was to take a shot of alcohol after every meal in the hopes that it would kill any "bugs". I was in serious doubt of this plan...
Afterwards, we headed to the center to go to bed. I slept very little this night and the next couple of nights because the beds were incredibly hard, the heat was unbearable, and the mosquitoes were buzzing in my ears all night long.
Since we arrived just after the opening ceremonies and official practice on the first day, we did not get to shoot at the competition field. Everyone at the training center said that the wind on the field was very tough, but we took this to be an exaggeration. The next day during the long half of the first FITA, we found out that this was no exaggeration. The winds were strong, coming from the right, left, front, and back, and sometimes coming at multiple directions at once. I never thought it was possible for the wind to blow right and left at the same time... boy was I wrong! The scores were low, but I was determined to finish with a decent FITA score.
That night we found a mall nearby which fortunately had a pizza place, a few hamburger joints, and an internet cafe. On the way back to the center, we bought a few pirated movies like "Just Married" for $3!!!
The next day was Wednesday... still no one was ill. In the afternoon, we finished the second half of the first FITA. I shot well in the same winds this time with a 327 at 50m and a 354 at 30m. Jonathan finished 7th on the FITA, and I some how managed to finish 1st. Brian had some serious problems with equipment and was still working them out.
By this time, we had an opportunity to meet most of the teams from South and Central America. All of the people were very kind and cool to hang out with. The girls were beautiful, and everyone had a smile on their face at all times. Most of them even spoke English, but I still enjoyed trying to speak to them in Spanish.
Fortunately for all the guys, the schedule was changed for the next FITA. We would be shooting in the morning without the winds. The long half on this FITA went much better. The winds were still tricky, but I managed to shoot a 295 and a 327 at 90m and 70m respectively. Jonathan had a rough day, but Brian was working out the equipment issues.
That afternoon, we were lucky enough to have our new friends, Miguel Soto and Juan Serrano from Mexico take us to the pyramids outside of town. Now Miguel and Juan are two of the nicest and funnest guys. Before we got to the pyramids, I had no idea how large and how steep they were. Upon arrival, I thought one of the pyramids was actually a mountain! Words cannot describe the sheer size and magnificent of these monuments.
After crawling up the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, and walking down the Pathway of the Dead, my legs were exhausted. It was time to go back!
When we returned to the center, we realized it was Thursday and everyone was still healthy.
The next morning, shooting went well again. I finished with a 326 and a 351 for a 1299 total. I also won the qualification event by 22 points. I was definitely pleased with this. And to my surprise, they were giving out medals for the double score at every distance. Somehow, I walked away with 4 out of 5 gold medals that day. One for double 70m, double 50m, double 30m, and double FITA.
That evening we ventured down to the mall again to use the internet cafe. After sitting down for 5 minutes in the cafe, the rains began to poor. It was so bad the electricity went out, and we were sitting in a 3 story mall in almost absolute darkness. I was a little on the nervous side, but dared not to go outside the mall for I would have been washed away by the rain and hail. After the rain subsided, we made a mad dash back to the center. This evening we were pleased with the news that none of us were sick....
The next morning, it appeared Montezuma had his revenge with us. MJ, Jonathan, and myself all had the "bug". Brian was unscathed though, and swore it was from his "medicine" he took after every meal. Jonathan admitted to forgetting to take the "medicine" after some meals.
The Olympic Rounds went well, although we did a poor job of seeding ourselves. Brian and I shot against each other in the second round, and then in the 4th round, Jonathan and I were paired up. That match started off close, with both of us wishing to give the match to the other, but ended 106-101 in my favor. At this point I was exhausted from lack of sleep, the heat, the competition, the walking, and dehydration and I did not feel like shooting. However, I decided to give the next few matches my best. The wind continued to pick up and change direction. My next match was close, but I finished with a 30 and a 28 to win 109-104. Now I was to meet my friend Juan Serrano in the finals.
Now just to give you an idea, there was an hour wait between the semifinals and finals, and every 5 minutes the wind changed. The first end I picked up 3 points on Juan with a 26 to his 23. The next end, the wind really blew. We both scored the same thing. The third end, the wind was so powerful, I was aiming in the black on the right side. I shot 3 9's circling the 10 ring, and Juan scored a 27 as well. In the final end, the wind picked up more. My first 2 shots were 9's, while Juan shot two 10's and a 9 for 29. At this point, I was so focused on my shooting that I didn't realize what he'd shot. In hindsight, this was a very good thing. I drew up and shot a 10 on my last arrow winning by 2 points. I was thrilled especially considering how tough the Mexican crowd can be at times.
Immediately following the shooting, the awards ceremony was cancelled because of a wind/dust storm!!! I bet you've never heard of that happening
The next day we toured the city since we did not have enough people for the team competition. We visited an artists' market, Chapultepec Castle, and the Museum of Anthropology. We did learn a VERY valuable lesson though. We did not have the address of the training center, and because of this, we ended up riding around town for 1 hour and 10 minutes trying to find the place(Note: this is normally a 20 minute ride). I thought we would never find it, but luckily enough, Jonathan had a receipt from the Walmart nearby which had the street name on it!
That night was the banquet and dance. I had the pleasure of learning to dance to all the Central and South American music, and in return, I taught them to 2-step to Garth Brooks.
When it was all said it done, I had a great time. The people were very friendly and fun. Although, Mexico City was somewhat polluted, it wasn't too bad of a place and the residents of the city were nice as well. In conclusion, if you want to go to a nice world ranking competition nearby and for low cost, definitely attend one in South or Central America! You'll have a great time begin friendships that may last a lifetime.