New season, new faces, new finalists: Shanghai recurves
There is no better start to your international career than making a World Cup stage final. French archer Pierre PLIHON has nerves of steel – we’ve already gathered that much – and plenty of perfect sets under his belt at this tournament.
Hideki KIKUCHI, a Japanese Olympian at London 2012, has won World Cup medals in the past in the team and mixed team events, but not individually… yet.
Rick VAN DER VEN is the European champion, and just missed out an Olympic medal in 2012 – coming fourth. He’s the experienced teammate of number one seed Sjef VAN DEN BERG, and always seems to sneak through the head-to-head brackets.
He’s facing someone who’s quite recently experienced that fourth-place feeling. Taylor WORTH lost his semifinal in Nimes to teammate Ryan TYACK – who he’ll shoot for team gold with at Shanghai – before dropping the bronze match to the USA’s Brady ELLISON.
The question is: which one wants to upgrade to bronze more…
Advantage: VAN DER VEN
Individual silver medallist at Belek 2013 – by a millimetre – XU Jing has an Olympic team silver to her name as well. So she’s…
a) No stranger to finals.
And b) Not wanting to pick up another silver… especially not with a Chinese home crowd, local and national television stations watching her every move.
Surprisingly, it’s a first World Cup stage final for Germany’s Elena RICHTER. She is currently world field archery champion, and has won medals at indoor worlds and outdoors at continental competitions.
Twenty-one-year-old Ayano KATO is a new attendee at international finals. She’s made last 16s before – but this is new.
Needing absolutely no introduction – but getting one anyway – Olympic silver medallist Aida shot a personal best as she took the first seed in Shanghai. The new world indoor champion is positive, humble and – somehow, because the trait doesn’t quite fit – ridiculously clinical in her ability to despatch most archers that stand in her way.
As an aside: ROMAN won their only previous match-up at Wroclaw 2013.
Recurve men’s team gold (morning session): Japan v Australia
Led by Olympic silver medallist Takaharu FURUKAWA, the Japanese team has just looked happy all week. Like they were having fun. Positivity breeds success – and it’s a tough thing to beat.
If you were ever going to pick a team to fight fire with fire, it would be the Australians. Aside from being a national stereotype, this Ozzie trio works excellently. Forty-year-old Matt GRAY lends a phenomenal amount of experience to a team that, while admitting that they are not the best archers on the field, fight to the bitter end.
Recurve women’s team gold (morning session): China v Colombia
Individually, China hasn’t made much of a noise on home soil at Shanghai 2014. Interestingly, though – this team line-up is the same one that brought the nation Olympic silver in 2012.
The team from Colombia doesn’t have such experience. They do have the first ever South American world medallist in Natalia SANCHEZ – but nothing to lose.
While Olympic silver medallists are always favourites against relative unknowns, this is the match that could turn out to be quite the surprise. (And look what happened the last time the Colombians surprised us all: see LOPEZ, Sara and USQUIANO, Alejandra!)
Advantage: China… just
Recurve mixed team gold (afternoon session): USA v Mexico
Two-time World Cup champ Brady ELLISON and rookie recurve Mackenzie BROWN make a formidable USA mixed team. They admitted to being like siblings at the national training centre. The pair beat Great Britain in a semifinal shoot-off to make this gold medal match.
The two Mexican archers they face are no first-timers. Aida ROMAN and Juan Rene SERRANO were world silver medallists at Torino, in 2011, and regularly shoot finals together.