Ki Bo Bae breaks decade-old world record

4 July 2015
Gwangju (KOR)
The reigning Olympic Champion shot 686 points during qualification at the Universiade in Gwangju.

Ki Bo Bae won two gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics, in the individual and team competition, continuing a long line of Korean dominance over women’s archery at the Games. 

Eight years before London, at the 2004 Olympiad in Athens, Greece, archery legend – and fellow Korean – Park Sung-Hyun set the 72-arrow ranking round world record at 682 points on the way to individual and team gold. 

That 682-point world best mark stood for over a decade.

Ki Bo Bae finally beat it at the 2015 Universiade in Gwangju – on home soil in Korea. 

She scored 344 points with her first 36 arrows, just 16 points off perfect – and followed it up with a 342 back half for 686 in total and a new world record by four points overall. 

Bo Bae said her heart turned to pure joy when she finished the round. 

“When I saw all my friends around me making world records, I asked myself when I would do the same,” she said. “I’ve set them before and today was the perfect environment.” 

She revealed her expectations for the event were not high. 

“I was worried because I was not in very good condition arriving in Gwangju and thought it might affect my teammates negatively. Instead of being greedy about my own goal, thinking about my team has resulted in something good today.” 

Ki Bo Bae, now the veteran out of the Korean women, has taken her reappointment to heart.

“As the oldest of the team, I felt a lot of pressure,” she said, and it’s easy to understand why. 

Despite her pedigree and burgeoning medal cabinet, Bo Bae suffered from something of a post-Olympic hangover and did not qualify for the Korean team in 2014, instead acting as a sport analyst for national television covering the Archery World Cup circuit. 

She watched her teammates set a new team qualifying record in Medellin that year. 

Speaking early in 2015, Bo Bae said watching the competitions from afar had strengthened her resolve and helped her rediscover what she “needed to do”.

She returned with a fire. 

Back on the international squad and at the Universiade in Gwangju, Ki’s individual performance helped wipe that team world-best mark she had not been a part of setting off the record books, too. 

With Choi Misun and Kang Chae Young, her Korean women’s team ranking score was 2038 out of a possible 2160 points – and six more than the previous record of 2032, which neither Chae Young nor Misun had a claim in, either.

The three women, who also made up 75 percent of Korea’s Archery world Cup squad in 2015, qualified one, two and three individually in Gwangju.