Sara López is the one to beat in the global archery scene. In a decade, the 26-year-old Colombian has obtained multiple medals and titles. She also started pursuing her dream of becoming an oncologist. This is her story.
How it all started
Sara stands out among Pereira’s Colombian women due to her unparalleled talent at compound archery. This discipline demands not only physical strength but mental fortitude and control (World Archery, n.d. a).
Her love affair with the sport began when she tagged along with her brother to one of his archery practices. There were many men there and only one woman. To Sara, she looked both graceful and strong during her shots. She was also using a compound bow — an instrument that looked very intriguing to her (Ríos, 2020).
López began regularly practicing and raising her scores. Realizing she had passion and talent as tools, she set out to become the best in the world (Ríos, 2020).
She first competed with the Colombian team in 2011 when she was 16-years-old. Since then, she has shown her craft at over 150 global events, such as the Bolivarian, South American, Pan American, and World Games. Her international debut back in 2013 even earned her bronze medals at the latter two (Romero, 2020).
Sara López, the ten-making machine
Not long after her global debut, this Colombian beauty rose to the number one spot in the women’s world ranking. She held it for over a thousand days between 2015 and 2017 (Comité Olímpico Colombiano, n.d.). Today, López is the world’s third best after Russia’s Natalia Avdeeva and Denmark’s Tanja Gellenthien (World Archery, n.d. c).
Moreover, she has broken eleven world records — four of her records currently standing. Additionally, she has won 87% of her matches in international events (World Archery, n.d. b). As a result, the World Archery Federation named her Athlete of the Year twice, in 2015 and 2016 (Comité Olímpico Colombiano, n.d.).
Performance and accolades
Sara López is golden among Colombian females in sports. These are the highlights of her stellar career so far (Comité Olímpico Colombiano, n.d.):
- She took home 15 senior and 4 junior gold medals at the World Archery Federation cups between 2013 and 2017.
- Sara was champion at the 2013 Bolivarian Games, the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games, the 2016 Pan American Games, and the 2017 World Games.
- She is the only five-time winner of the World Cup (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019) in archery — a feat yet unmatched by any woman or man in the history of the sport.
Recently, she won the first-ever virtual archery tournament, where she competed against three women and four men (Durango, n.d.). López defeated Norwegian archer Anders Faugsta at the final match (Colprensa, 2020).
Her performance and skills have led to a moniker referring to her ability to consistently obtain near-perfect scores at events: Sara, the ten-making machine (Comité Olímpico Colombiano, n.d.).
A parallel dream
Nowadays, López has her eye on winning her sixth World Cup gold medal. She is also invested in contributing to the fight to achieve pay, sponsorship, and coverage equality between men and women in archery (Ríos, 2020).
One would think a professional athlete has little time for something other than their sport in their life. In Sara’s case, this is far from true. On top of training four hours a day, she attends medical school in Pereira (Romero, 2020). She wants to be one of Colombia’s leading oncologists. “Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to be God’s tool to help people. I want to work with cancer patients and make them a priority”, she says (Señal Colombia, 2017).
Colprensa. (2020). Sara López, campeona del torneo virtual internacional de tiro con arco. Caracol Radio. Retrieved from https://caracol.com.co/radio/2020/05/17/deportes/1589746166_254111.html
Durango, J. (n.d.). Sara López desbordó talento, hasta en la casa. Comité Olímpico Colombiano. Retrieved from http://www.coc.org.co/news/los-mejores-sara-desbordo-talento-hasta-en-la-casa/
Ríos, J. D. (2020). Sara López: “El sueño olímpico nunca ha estado en mis planes”. AS. Retrieved from https://colombia.as.com/colombia/2020/05/21/masdeporte/1590093847_573103.html
Romero, J. (2020). Sara López, mejor arquera del mundo. El Correo. Retrieved from https://www.elcorreo.com/deporte-femenino/otros-deportes/sara-lopez-cinco-veces-campeona-mundo-tiro-arco-20200219104045-nt.html
Señal Colombia. (2017). Lo que Sara López tiene en la mira. Retrieved from https://www.senalcolombia.tv/deportes/sara-lopez-mejor-arquera-colombiana-tambien-quiere-ser-oncologa
World Archery. (n.d. a). Compound. Retrieved from https://worldarchery.sport/sport/equipment/compound
World Archery. (n.d. b). Sara López. Retrieved from https://worldarchery.sport/profile/9718/sara-lopez/records
World Archery. (n.d. c). World Ranking. Retrieved from https://worldarchery.sport/rankings/world-ranking?category=Compound%20Women