In-form Korean teams take World Cup golds ahead of Games
The Korean recurve men’s team beat Mexico in straight sets and the women’s team took down World Archery Champion Russia, 6-2, in Antalya to remain unbeaten in two appearances on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit in the lead up to the Olympics.
Ki Bo Bae, Chang Hye Jin and Choi Misun went 4-0 up on their Russian opponents in the recurve women’s team final before losing the third set, dropping in two sevens, 55 points to 50. The Korean Olympic women’s team won the fourth to seal the match.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to have pressure in the matches because if we win 6-0, it will make us feel relaxed. We lost the third set and it was good that happened, as we had to push ourselves to do better,” said Ki Bo Bae, the reigning individual Olympic Champion and World Archery Champion.
The men’s final was quicker.
“Compared to Medellin, we feel much better, we think we are getting better and better ahead of the Olympics. It was a good opportunity to shoot against [the Mexican team], it helps us,” said Kim Woojin.
None of the Korean team seemed to enjoy the heat in Antalya, but they coped well. Lee Seungyun, donning a cap he doesn’t usually wear when shooting, said he poured water in his shoes to keep cool.
With two gold medals in the two events leading up to the Olympic Games in Rio each, the Korean recurve men’s and women’s teams are rounding into form ahead of a Games at which they have high expectations to meet.
The Korean women’s team has been Olympic Champion all seven times the team event has been at the Games, since Seoul 1988, and is preparing to shoot for its eighth consecutive title. The men are four-time winners, in 1988, 2000, 2004 and 2008
The recurve women’s team captain, Chang Hye Jin, recognised the pressure on the teams to perform in Rio.
“We are all human so if we don’t feel pressure from the outside it means something’s not right. We need to overcome the pressure, so we practise a lot and because of all our experience, we know how to handle it,” she said. “We’ve got to keep the pressure under control.”