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Countdown to Medellin: What you need to know

Practice is in progress at this year’s second leg of the World Cup – so we’ve rounded up the event essentials…

With one leg of the 2014 Archery World Cup in the books, we’re in Medellin for stage number two – and practice is already underway.

Looking back, France was dominant in the men’s competitions at Shanghai, taking compound gold and silver and having a first-time individual team member make the recurve final.

Past recurve team world champion CHOI Bomin won her first individual gold as a compound archer, when Colombia’s Sara LOPEZ had equipment issues and missed the first three arrows of their medal match. The Korean team hasn’t sent its compounds to Medellin – so CHOI won’t make it two in a row – but LOPEZ is surely livid, motivated and keen to bounce back on home turf.

Here’s what you need to know, as we countdown to competition in Medellin…

Five… key Medellin facts

The organisers received 140 volunteer applications for the event, selecting 70: 60 from Medellin, four from Cali and six from elsewhere around the world. That’s the kind of workforce it takes to put on an event like this! Our competition venue is the headquarters of the Colombian archery federation – so the archers know it well. In the Medellin metropolitan area, though, there are 10 dedicated archery fields, 11 archery clubs and nearly 400 archers. The Colombian federation only began in 2001, there have been four national championships and right in Medellin, there are three inter-club league events. Massive growth in the sport! There’ll be 16 hours of live Colombian television transmission – Teleantioquia and Senal Colombia – on Saturday and Sunday… for a country that’s got keen on archery. Parque Norte, the finals venue for this year, is one of Medellin’s prime regenerated zones – and very popular – and right by some impressive botanical gardens, planetarium, restaurants…

Four… winners from last year

Last year, Russia’s Inna STEPANOVA and DAI Xiaoxiang won recurve golds in Medellin – and the compound titles went to Colombia’s Alejandra USQUIANO and Reo WILDE from the USA.

All but DAI are in Medellin for a second year in a row – and that is a mysterious absence. For INNA and USQUIANO, Medellin 2013 were first-time World Cup stage gold medals, for WILDE it was another to add to the collection.

Repeating is difficult, repeating for a second year in a row is really, really difficult – especially since STEPANOVA walks to the target under an umbrella in this heat, so clearly isn’t 100% comfortable.

If anyone’s favourite to pick up a second Medellin medal, it’s definitely USQUIANO.

Three… Medellin predictions (by guest writer and experienced international recurve woman Naomi FOLKARD from Great Britain)

Korea will win recurve women’s team gold – but not the individual top spot. The Asian nation’s squad looks different from last year, but is still a team favourite. Individually, the new-look ladies line-up doesn’t have as storied a track record and will need to settle down at their first World Cup stage of the year. Martin DAMSBO was outqualified by his Danish teammate Stephan HANSEN in Shanghai, but Martin lasted further into the competition. The reigning World Cup Final Champion is reliable in head-to-head matches, and could easily hit a podium in Medellin. French compound archer Sophie DODEMONT will medal. She’s still shooting ace – with that mixed team medal in Shanghai, and she’s odds on pick up another individual here.

 

Two… things with a potential impact on the competition

Often referred to as the land of eternal spring, due to its close proximity to the equator and delightfully-pleasant climate, Medellin has issued foreboding storm warnings for later in the week. On the flip side, it’s currently ridiculously hot! Archers are practising in conditions that would rival the Saharan sun… and that is a difficult contrast to cope with.

These tropical rains don’t usually last long – and no-one’s complaining about the good weather. But one question will be answered before finals roll around: how many athletes are prepared for the changing conditions?

One… way to follow Medellin 2014

Check WorldArchery.org throughout the week for news, features, video – including live streams of the recurve finals next Sunday – scores and more – all live from Medellin 2014. We’ll have updated on Facebook and Twitter, and you can join the global online conversation using the hashtag #WCMedellin.

The Archery World Cup Medellin team also has its own dedicated Twitter account – @AWCMedellin – and Facebook page.

Follow coverage from today’s official practice before competition begins on Wednesday, with the ranking round.