Observations from Incheon: mixed fortunes for Korean team at Asian Games

26 September 2014
Incheon (KOR)
Stunned silence fell over the Incheon stadium as a tiebreak loss ended a 30-plus-year Asian Games gold run in recurve men’s team event for Korea – but the nation qualified for all other team finals matches.

The crowd in Incheon, South Korea went completely silent when China’s recurve men shot the last arrow of a tiebreaker shoot-off in the team semifinals. The Korean team on the field – Olympic Champion Oh Jin Hyek, world champion Lee Seungyun and Antalya World Cup stage winner in 2014 Ku Bonchan – were in shock.

Both teams had shot a solid 9-10-9, but China’s 10 was closer to the middle.

They advance to a gold medal match against Malaysia while Korea – who have won every recurve men’s team gold at the Asian Games since 1982 – will contest bronze with Japan.

“Korean archery is still winning, but it is becoming more difficult,” said the Korean women’s team coach, Ryu Su-Jeong, according to official archery blogger for the Incheon event, The Infinite Curve.

That Olympic Champion women’s team will shoot for its fifth successive Asian Games title against China. India, resoundingly beaten by the Koreans in the semis, has Japan in the bronze medal match.

Tomorrow’s compound finals programme includes a world record setting trio, again from Korea. The score needs to be officially ratified, but the compound women’s team’s 238 out of a possible 240 is two points larger than USA’s world best set in 2011.

The Korean women will shoot against Chinese Taipei for gold, and the Korean compound men have a final against India.

“We haven’t won it yet,” said Choi Yong Hee, reported The Infinite Curve. Choi was the first Korean compound man to win an individual stage gold: he won Antalya this season. (And threw his hat high in the air.)

They haven’t – and they only just squeaked past the Philippines in the semis.

Three out of four team gold finals over the next two days feature Korea. And the best quotation of the tournament goes to the nation’s senior team management, again unearthed by The Infinite Curve…

“All our athletes are in good form,” according to YANG Yung-Sool. “But I have advised them to avoid excessive excitement because there are more events to prepare for.”

Compound finals run on Saturday 27 September 2015 in Incheon, with recurve finals on Sunday 28 September.

The individual competitions start at the semifinals. Already out are Korean former world champion Kim Woojin, reigning World Champion Lee Seungyun and India’s Deepika Kumari.

Kumari’s compound teammate Abhishek Verma made the men’s last four while Oh Jin Hyek and Hideki Kikuchi both made the recurve semis.