Oh in trouble? Sits 6th in Korean selections for Rio 2016
Oh Jin Hyek became the first Korean man to win an individual title at the Olympics Games in London in 2012. He made the Korean squad for a seventh consecutive year in 2016, but still needs to fight for his place in the three-man team that will compete at both the Hyundai Archery World Cup stages and in Rio.
Halfway through the two-event selection process, Oh is ranked sixth. The defending Olympic Champion made it clear his campaign was far from over with a post on Facebook following the end of competition.
The leader and anchor of a Korean recurve men’s team that’s climbed countless podiums since he made his international debut at the Archery World Cup stage in Antalya in 2009, Oh also started poorly in the competition that cut 16 applicants down to eight for the squad. He rallied late, to finally rank sixth in that event, too.
He’ll need to do better at the final selection tournament, where the top three finishers will make up the Olympic team.
The ranking of the tournament that’s just finished in Yecheon, which began on 1 April, counts as the first round of the last selection event, with athletes starting from a point total corresponding to their finish.
(For example, the top finisher starts the last event with eight points, the second with seven and the eighth ranked archer carries one point.)
Korea already qualified a full six-athlete quota, three men and three women, to the Games at the 2015 World Archery Championships in Copenhagen.
Round one – Recurve Men
- Kim Woojin – 41 Pts
- Lee SeungYun – 32.5 Pts
- Ku Bonchan – 30.5 PTS
- Im Dong Hyun – 25 PTS
- Lee Woo Seok – 23 PTS
- Oh Jin Hyek – 20.5 PTS
- Kim Jongho – 17 PTS
- Jeong Tae Young – 8.5 PTS
Kim Woojin carried an eight-point advantage into the event, having come top at the squad selection tournament. He won every round, including the shoot-off modifier, until the last of the competition, when his points total couldn’t be caught.
His determination to make the 2016 Olympic team, which would be his first appearance at a Games, is unmistakeable.
The top four features 2013 World Archery Champion Lee Seungyun, Ku Bonchan and three-time Olympian Im Dong Hyun, who has two team golds and a bronze at Games but has never climbed the podium individually.
Lee Woo Seok won gold at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.
Round one – Recurve Women
- Choi Misun – 41 PTS
- Ki Bo Bae – 30.5 PTS
- Lee Tuk Young – 27 PTS
- Park Mi Kyung – 24 PTS
- Kang Chae Young – 24 PTS
- Chang Hye Jin – 23.5 PTS
- Jeon Sungeun – 13.5 PTS
- Lee Eun Kyung – 12.5 PTS
Like Woojin and like the squad selection, Choi Misun also dominated the women’s competition.
Unlike the men’s event, the defending Olympic Champion finished the first half of qualifying in a commanding position, too. Ki Bo Bae was second only to Choi in the national rankings heading into the tournament and held serve in Yecheon.
Her progress towards defending the Olympic title she won in London will be closely watched.
No Olympic Champion has ever successfully defended their title to win crowns in consecutive Games. Korean archers Kim Soo Nyung and Park Sung Hyun did come close – Kim took gold in 1988 and silver in 1992, and Park gold in 2004 and silver in 2008 – and Darrell Pace won Olympic titles in both 1976 and 1984, though didn’t compete in 1980.
While Bo Bae and the recurve athletes have one more leg on their road to Rio, Korea’s compound team selection for 2016 is finalised. Kim Jongho, Choi Yong Hee, Kim Taeyoon and Yang Youngho make up the men’s group while World Archery Champion Kim Yun Hee, Seol Dayeong, Song Yun Soo, Ko Soyoung make up the women’s team.
The final Korean selection tournament is set to take place on 15-19 April in Daejeon.
It’s not over yet…