Odense 2016 preview: Recurve men
The 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final runs 24/25 September in Odense, Denmark.
It features 32 of the world’s best archers, the top qualifiers over the year’s three stages in Shanghai, Medellin and Antalya, plus host nation representatives in the recurve men’s, recurve women’s, compound men’s, compound women’s and mixed team divisions.
All the previews:
(The seed for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final is given in brackets after each athlete’s name. Average arrow figures are taken from 70-metre ranking rounds and matches at world ranking events in the last 24 months.)
KU BONCHAN, Korea (1)
The reigning Olympic Champion. The top seeded athlete in Odense, too, following a pair of podiums on the tour – bronze in Medellin and silver in Antalya. He’s also ranked number one in the world, but is making his debut at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.
Average arrow: 9.47
BRADY ELLISON, USA (2)
More Hyundai Archery World Cup Final titles than any other archer in history – three – but Ellison is still hungry for more. At his seventh consecutive season-ending event (another record), he’s fresh off an individual bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and looking to reclaim the World Cup crown he last won in 2014.
He shot in Mexico City in 2015, but was ill – and lost in the first round. One year removed, this is a very different Brady.
Average arrow: 9.38
WEI CHUN-HENG, Chinese Taipei (3)
Twenty-two years of age, Wei made his international debut in 2015. He medalled at all three stages of the 2016 circuit in the Chinese Taipei mixed team, and took individual bronze in Shanghai.
In fact, he didn’t finish lower than ninth, individually, at any of the year’s three legs.
Average arrow: 9.32
SJEF VAN DEN BERG, Netherlands (4)
The fourth-placed archer at the Olympics in Rio, Sjef has been an ascendant force for some time. He’s ranked third in the world and won the opening Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the year in Shanghai.
This season, culminating in a Hyundai Archery World Cup Final debut, is Sjef’s best to date.
Average arrow: 9.3
KIM WOOJIN, Korea (5)
Not only does Kim Woojin have the highest average arrow score of the eight recurve men in Odense, he’s also got a higher win percentage – with 81%, two more than Ku and five more than Brady.
He last won the World Cup Final in 2012, the year he famously missed out on an Olympic debut in London. Kim shot in Rio, and set a ranking round world record, but crashed out in the second round. He’ll be hot in Odense.
Average arrow: 9.5
ZACH GARRETT, USA (6)
An Olympic team silver medallist following team USA’s return to the second spot on the podium in Rio, Garrett is a staple on the nation’s squad. It’s easy to forget, though, that 2016 is actually only his second international season.
He’s also only 21, the same age teammate Ellison was when he won his first Archery World Cup Champion title!
Average arrow: 9.25
ERNESTO BOARDMAN, Mexico (7)
In 2016, Boardman was: a first-time Olympian, a first-time Pan American Champion and a first-time World Cup stage medallist, with the Mexican team collecting silvers in Antalya and Medellin. He’s also a first-time World Cup Final qualifier.
Average arrow: 9.17
JOHAN WEISS, Denmark (8)
The Dane of the field is, make no mistake, also the underdog. He did shoot a personal best for the ranking round at the international level in 2016 with 664 points out of a possible 720 – and he’ll have home crowd support in Odense.
He’s also got a chance to take on the Olympic Champion in the first round. As good a time as any to pull something big out of the bag!
Average arrow: 8.84
So many angles to pick – but the slighted Olympian with potential to impress is the tastiest.
Sjef van den Berg, fourth place finisher in Rio (note: possibly the hardest ranking to stomach?), has world-record breaker Kim Woojin first-up. If he wins that, he’s likely got a showdown with the Olympic Champion.
Tough path to the final! But one Sjef could conceivably run.
The gold Final?
Our prediction: Kim Woojin, Korea /Brady Ellison, USA
Widely tipped as the favourite at the Olympics, especially after he shot the first-ever recurve 700 during the ranking round, Kim Woojin crashed out of the tournament in the early rounds. (It was the most-read archery news story of the Games.) He wasn’t happy – and is due a bounce-back tournament.
The most decorated Archery World Cup competitor in history, Ellison, will be the one that stands in his way.
See someone else winning? Let us know on Twitter, @worldarchery is the handle.