Ki Bo Bae adds world champion title to collection
“There are no words that can describe what I am feeling at this moment,” Ki Bo Bae managed to say in between deep breaths, smiles and starting to tear up. “I think I’m going to cry.”
Olympic Champion at London 2012, she was missing and desperately wanted the world champion title for her resume.
“In 2014, I wasn’t selected for the national team because I wasn’t shooting well. During that year I thought that if I practised a lot I could win a world title and make it to the Olympics again. I forgot about the bad things.”
If her goal is Rio 2016, Ki Bo Bae is off to a good start.
She won the first two sets against the top-seeded recurve woman at Copenhagen, Lin Shih-Chia from Chinese Taipei, and jumped to a 4-0 set point lead quickly.
Bo Bae put in a match low 26-points for the third set, allowing Lin to gain a foothold with 27 – and draw the match back to 4-2. The pair shared the fourth with 29 points each – and both started 9, 10 in the fifth and final regulation set.
With the Olympic Champion only needing a set draw to win the match, Lin Shih-Chia had the chance to put the pressure on with her final arrow. It landed in the nine.
Ki Bo Bae stepped to the line needing to hit gold – nine or 10 points – to win. Calm and collected, the top Korean drew, released and sent an arrow flying downrange and into the 10-ring.
An emotional moment and a massive win for Ki Bo Bae, who was off the Korean team and commenting on national television just one year ago – and just added a coveted world title to her long list of achievements.
Bo Bae’s teammate Choi Misun, who Ki beat in the semis, collected bronze in the same event.
Choi successfully held off India’s Laxmirani Majhi to take the last spot on the podium. The pair were drawn at 4-all heading into the last regulation set, in which Choi and Majhi both shot nine then 10 with their first two arrows.
Choi finished first, with a 10 – in the very centre – meaning her Indian opponent needed a 10 just to force a shoot-off.
Laxmirani shot eight – and Choi Misun took bronze.
After the match Majhi, for which Copenhagen was her first international event in 2015, admitted she was having some problems releasing, taking too long to shoot each of her arrows.
“It was good battle and I enjoyed it,” she said. “I’m happy about it even though I lost.”
Misun, shooting in her first worlds, said the bronze was a massive achievement for her – and valuable experience.
Ki Bo Bae had a 2-0 record against Lin Shih-Chia on the Copenhagen finals field. She and Ku Bonchan successfully defended Korea’s mixed team title against Chinese Taipei before the individual matches.
Bo Bae won the Belek 2013 gold while partnered with Oh Jin Hyek – and the national also won gold in the competition at Turin 2011, where it was first introduced.
The two pairs traded sets to start the match.
Korea won the first, then Lin – Bo Bae’s gold final opponent – and Kuo Cheng Wei the second, Korea the third – and Chinese Taipei the fourth.
Four-two up heading into the last, Korea was put in a 10-to-win situation with Ki Bo Bae stepping up to the line to take the last shot, but her arrow landed just wide of the central-ring in the nine.
In the shoot-off, she was on point – as was Bonchan.
Both Koreans put their arrows in the 10 for a perfect 20 out of a possible 20 tiebreaker points. Chinese Taipei’s effort was valiant – but Kuo’s first arrow went in the nine and there was nothing Lin Shih-Chia’s closing 10 could do.
China beat Georgia in the mixed team bronze final. The Chinese pair trailed 3-1 after two sets but won the back two to secure the Asian nation’s only podium finish of these worlds.