Ku Bonchan tops hot Antalya qualification round
Ku Bonchan was three points clear at the top of the recurve men’s 230-athlete-long leaderboard a the third stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Antalya, Turkey. He was trailed by teammates Kim Woojin by three points, on 683, and Lee Seungyun by a further two, with 681, to round out a Korean top three.
The trio also took a commanding team pole, 23 points ahead of the nearest challenger, the USA, with a combined total of 2050.
Ku hung with the top five for much of the round but didn’t edge ahead until the closing ends. As the temperature climbed towards midday, so did Bonchan’s name in the leaderboard. He shot two balanced halves of 343 – although he finished with a sub-par 54-point end – to remain ahead, while previous leaders in the round fell away.
“The conditions on the field were good and the wind was not strong so I thought that it wouldn’t affect my arrows a lot but sometimes it did. It was okay and I managed a good result,” Ku said.
“Of course, I still need to improve and make more points. But this is a good step on the way to the Olympics. So far, so good. Rio is my focus.”
The USA’s Daniel McLaughlin was the early pace setter in Antalya. He scored 347 out of a possible 360 for his first 36 arrows, but couldn’t quite maintain the level for the stretch.
Daniel’s final score of 676 put him in ninth.
“I’ve been shooting good a lot of the year, but kind of had a rocky start to our Olympic trials. But I finished up strong and really showed what I can do,” he said.
McLaughlin was recently announced as the reserve for the USA squad in Rio.
“I think it’s safe to say it was the hardest men’s Olympic team we’ve ever had, to make. It would be nice to be the third but I’m still proud to be the reserve,” Daniel added. “I need to keep pushing, so they keep shooting their best. I have a responsibility to those guys to make sure I’m shooting my best to help them train.”
The cut to make the top 104, who advance to the elimination phase of the last Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the year, was 646 points – that’s 16 higher than the minimum score required to shoot at the Olympic Games.
(The eight athletes that finished on the score also had to shoot-off for five available places.)
Out of the 200+ recurve men in Antalya, 115 were also qualifying for the Final Qualifying Tournament for the Olympic Games. The results of the main ranking round ranked the athletes for a secondary set of eliminations brackets.
Qualification for the recurve women and the compound ranking rounds takes place on 14 June in Antalya.