Shanghai 2016: 10 things you need to know

25 April 2016
Shanghai (CHN)
The opening stage of the 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 26 April to 1 May.

To start the shortened Hyundai Archery World Cup season – in 2016 we’ll visit only three stages rather than four due to the calendar being taken up by the Olympic Games – is the traditional stop in Shanghai, China.

It’s the ninth time the Asian city has hosted a leg of the tour and kicks off an exciting year, with the road to Rio rounding into focus. Here’s 10 things you need to know before the competition begins…

1. Opening act

The 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup season:

Only the top seven ranked athletes in each division qualify for this season’s Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Odense. With only three stops to pick up points – every arrow counts!

2. Biggest Ever

It’s getting to the stage we’re saying this at every event but, once again, we’ve got a competition in Shanghai that’s bigger than it has ever been before. With the fight for Olympic places a tight one, a number of teams are getting international practice in early before the Americas qualifier at stage two in Medellin, European at the European Championships in Nottingham and final world qualifier at Antalya, stage three of the Hyundai Archery World Cup.

There are 366 athletes from 49 countries at Shanghai 2016. That’s 10 archers up on the previous year, and despite some teams preferring staying home to prepare, eight more nations represented, too.

3. Double-bowing

Our friend from Iceland, Gudmundur Gudjonsson, who shoots his recurve with an upside-down bow-hand, plays in Shanghai with our new favourite trend: Shooting both recurve and compound in the same international event.

“I was making the flight anyway,” he said.

4. Live: Archery TV

As normal in Shanghai, we’ll be streaming the recurve finals live, online and free on the World Archery YouTube channel. Unfortunately, we’re not able to stream the compound medal matches live, but they will be uploaded, in full, at the close of competition.

Visit Archery TV

5. Fijian Elder

Former high-jumper Robert Elder, from Fiji, who memorably qualified 63rd at London 2012 before taking the second-ranked Korean, Kim Bubmin, to five sets (and leading 4-0) in the first round, is in Shanghai. A spectator favourite, he’s giving it a shot at his third Games. (He went to ’04, too.)

More on Robert later…

6. New Finals Spot

Traditionally, the finals in Shanghai are held alongside the river that runs through Shanghai, with views of the financial city skyline to one side and the historical Bund riverfront the other. In 2016, we’ve moved, to a park in the centre of the Pudong business district, right by the Shanghai Tower and World Financial Centre, affectionately known as the bottle opener!

7. World Cup Winners

Champions over the 2015 tour, Demir Elmaagacli, Sara Lopez (also the 2014 winner) and Miguel Alvarino Garcia open their ’16 seasons as defending titleholders of the Hyundai Archery World Cup, with a chance to pick up points early at the first stage.

Lopez also won in Shanghai last year. With just three stages instead of four, opportunities to collect ranking points are fewer and farther between. A strong stage to open the season will be essential if any fancy defending their crowns.

Choi Misun, the reigning recurve women’s winner, isn’t in Shanghai (see number nine). All indications are that she’ll be in Medellin and Antalya, though, after making the Korean Olympic team for the first time.

8. Cut: Recurve men

Although all athletes in the recurve women’s, compound women’s and compound men’s competitions will rank for Shanghai matchplay, with 120 archers in the recurve men’s competition – 16 won’t continue past Wednesday.

9. Korean youth Movement

The Korean team for the Olympic Games was decided barely a week ago and, while the chosen six undergo various team activities, a junior and cadet recurve squad has travelled to Shanghai to gain international experience. (That Korea archery train isn’t going anywhere.)

The compound group is the A team for the year, though.

10. Podium

Last year’s gold medallists in Shanghai:

This year? Tune in to www.worldarchery.org, www.archery.tv and follow World Archery’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr accounts to find out…