Olympic archery athletes preview: #3 Asia

30 July 2016
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
Continent-by-continent, World Archery’s run-down of the archers competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Read the rest of our regional roster previews:

Continent: #3 Asia

Number of athletes: 43

Number of nations: 16

Number of first-time nations: 1

The One-to-beat

Korea, of course. Specifically, the recurve women’s team. Since the team event was introduced in 1988, at Korea’s home Games in Seoul, the Korean recurve women have won every single available gold medal. In Rio, they’ll go for an eighth in a row. They are, literally, unbeaten.

The story

London 2012 Paralympic Champion Zahra Nemati plans to do the double at Rio 2016, and compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. She was announced as Iran’s flagbearer at the Olympic opening ceremony early on in the process.

The first Paralympian to compete at the Olympic was New Zealand’s Neroli Fairhall, who was a Paralympic runner and archer in 1980, and then attended the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics as an archer, too.

The Nations

A nation-by-nation run-down of the continent’s athletes, history and a target, which – if achieved – would mean a really successful archery competition in Rio. Medal count is taken from the modern era, post-1972

Bangladesh

Athletes: Shamoli Ray (woman)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: One of just five Bangladeshi athletes, across all the Olympic sports, at Rio 2016, 22-year-old Shamoli was given a Tripartite invitation to the Games.

She the first female archer, and second archer, from the nation to shoot at the Olympics.

Target: 630+ on ranking round

Bhutan

Athletes: Karma (woman)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: A beautiful name to go with a beautiful country – and one that’s competed in the archery competition at the Olympics since 1984.

Karma said that from the day she started archery, she “always wanted to make it to the Olympics”.

The last (and only) Bhutanese woman to win a match at the Games was Tshering Choden in 2004.

Target: Second round – women

China

Athletes: Cao Hui, Wu Jiaxin, Qi Yuhong (women); Xing Yu, Gu Xuesong, Wang Dapeng (men)

Olympic record: 9 medals – 1 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze

Intel: A second-place for the Chinese recurve women’s team at London was the fourth time – and the third in a row – that the nation was beaten to that Olympic crown by Korea.

Is 2016 the year that the Korean women finally crack? Have these Chinese women, all first-time Olympians, got what it takes to force Korea’s hand.

Target: Two medals

Indonesia

Athletes: Ika Rochmawati (woman); Riau Ega Agatha, Hendra Purnama, Muhammad Wijaya (men)

Olympic record: 1 medal – 1 silver

Intel: Rochmawati made it to the last 16 at the London 2012 Games, losing in a shoot-off to Russia’s Ksenia Perova. (She was also in Beijing in 2008.)

The men qualified at the last chance tournament in Antalya, securing Indonesia its first ever men’s team place at the Games.

Indonesia’s lone Olympic medal in archery was won in 1988, when the women’s team finished second to Korea.

Target: Top eight – women, top eight – men

India

Athletes: Laxmirani Majhi, Bombayla Devi Laishram, Deepika Kumari (women); Atanu Das (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: The Indian women’s team, perpetually undervalued by the nation’s media, is ranked number three in the world arriving in London. Kumari, the darling of the squad since winning double-gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, is at her second Olympics in Rio. (Laishram is at her third.) 

Kumari seeded eighth in London before being upset in the first round.

The Indian man at the 2016 Olympics is Atanu Das, who found his way into his first individual senior finals match at the third stage of the 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Antalya. He took Kim Woojin to a tight shoot-off, but ultimately lost.

Das beat out veterans Mangal Singh Champia (Olympian in 2008) and Jayanta Talukdar (Olympian in 2012) for a ticket to his Olympic debut.

Target: One medal

Iran

Athletes: Zahra Nemati (woman)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: The London 2012 Paralympic Champion will compete at both the Olympics and Paralympics in 2016. She qualified her ticket to the Olympics in Rio outright, at the Asian Championships, before adding the Paralympic place straight afterwards.

No Iranian archer – there has been four – has ever won a match at the Olympics.

Target: Second round – women

Japan

Athletes: Hayashi Yuki, Kawanaka Kaori, Nagamine Saori (women); Furukawa Takaharu (man)

Olympic record: 5 medals – 3 silver, 2 bronze

Intel: Furukawa is the defending silver medallist at the Olympics – and Kawanaka was part of the women’s team that came third in London. Nagamine’s new to the Games, Hayashi shot in Beijing – and both will have to level up for Japan to reach the podium again.

Before 2012, Japan had only one Olympic medallist: Hiroshi Yamamoto, who won bronze in 1984 and took silver in 2004, 20 years later.

Target: Two medals

Kazakhstan

Athletes: Luiza Saidiyeva (woman); Sultan Duzelbayev (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Two Kazakh men made it to the third round of the Games in 2000. Since then, it’s been losses in the first or second matches of the tournament throughout.

Both Saidiyeva and Duzelbayev are first-time Olympians.

Target: Third round – men, second round – women

Korea

Athletes: Ki Bo Bae, Chang Hye Jin, Choi Misun (women); Kim Woojin, Ku Bonchan, Lee Seungyun (men)

Olympic record: 34 medals – 18 gold, 10 silver, 6 bronze

Intel: Korea is, without any doubt, the most successful nation in the archery competition’s history at the Olympic Games. As each Olympiad passes, the Korean women remain unbeaten in the team event – and this group have said that they consider taking an eighth consecutive team gold more important than their individual performances.

Oh Jin Hyek broke the spell over the Korean men in 2012, becoming the first from the nation to hold the title of individual Olympic Champion – but he didn’t make the team in 2016.

Ki Bo Bae, if she takes gold in Rio, would become the first archer ever to successfully defend an Olympic title (and only the second to win it twice).

Target: Five medals, including the women’s team gold

Malaysia

Athletes: Khairul Anuar Mohamad, Muhammad Nor Hasrin, Haziq Kamaruddin (men)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Khairul Anuar Mohamad made the last eight of London. Kamaruddin was there, too – and Malaysian trio lost to Mexico in the first round of the team event.

Since 2004 (Malaysia’s Olympic archery debut), and including Khairul’s London run, twice a Malaysian man has been one win off a medal match.

Target: Top four – men

Mongolia

Athletes: Gantugs Jantsan (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Olympics number two for Jantsan, who seeded high in London (19th), then lost in the first round. He’s the oldest archer on the Rio 2016 field.

Target: Top 16 – men

Myanmar

Athletes: Htwe San Yu (woman)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: A nation that’s had an archer in every Olympics since 2000 – and an archer that’s shot internationally since 2005, though not at a Games.

Myanmar’s Myo Aung Nay upset ninth seed Romain Girouille in London in 2012, and made it to the third round.

Target: Third round – women

Nepal

Athletes: Jitbahadur Muktan (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: The first Olympic archery experience for the nation of Nepal, as Muktan travels to Brazil as part of a seven-athlete squad after receiving a Tripartite invitation. He has two top-20 finishes at Asian Games on his record, in 2010 and 2014 – and posted 642 in qualifying at the Asian Championships.

Target: 630+ on ranking round

DPR Korea

Athletes: Kang Un Ju (woman)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Kang Un Ju has big shoes to fill. DPR Korea’s recurve women have had success at Olympics, almost climbing the podium twice in recent memory.

In 2000, Ok Sil Choe finished fourth, losing the bronze final to Kim Soo-Nyung. Eight years later, in Beijing, Kwon Un-sil was short in the 3-4 place match, as well, losing to Yun Ok-Hee.

(The latter knocked out both Aida Roman and Mariana Avitia, both from Mexico, in Beijing. Roman and Avitia would both climb the podium in London, four years later.)

Target: One medal

Thailand

Athletes: Witthaya Thamwong (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: A second chance at the Games for Thamwong, who lost in the first round at London 2012. He remains Thailand’s only Olympian archer since the quota system was brought in.

Target: Second round – men

Chinese Taipei

Athletes: Lin Shih-Chia, Tan Ya-Ting, Le Chien-Ying (women); Kao Hao-Wen, Wei Chun-Heng, Yu Guan-Lin (men)

Olympic record: 2 medals – 1 silver, 1 bronze

Intel: The Chinese Taipei men’s team is a new line-up, when compared to London 2012. The women’s squad, though, is exactly the same.

One of the enigmas of international archery over the past few years, Tan Ya-Ting, Lin Shih-Chia and Le Chien-Ying have flashed brilliance. Between them, four years ago, they won four matches – with Tan Ya Ting making the last 16.

If all breaks right in Rio, all three could go further than that.

Chinese Taipei has two previous Olympic medals, both from Athens 2004 – where the nation’s men’s and women’s teams climbed the podium. The men took silver, the women bronze.

Target: One medal

The archery competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games starts on the 5 August in the Sambodromo.

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