Brady takes his 4th World Cup title – by millimetres
The 2016 Hyundai World Cup Final wrapped up in style, as Brady Ellison – by the skin of his teeth – took his fourth World Cup Final title, after wins in 2010, 2011 and 2014. He beat the Netherland’s Sjef Van Den Berg in the most dramatic way possible – a single arrow shoot-off.
He was sanguine about both wins: “How did I defeat them? Just my doing my own thing and hoping they dropped a few points. I didn’t think about Ku being the Olympic Champion, I just thought of him as an obstacle on my way to the gold medal.”
The Korean archers only arrived in Denmark late on Thursday night after a packed post-Olympic schedule, but denied that fatigue was a factor.
In bright conditions with occasional gusts of wind, Ellison raced away to a 4-0 lead after the first two ends of the final, continuing the solid form he showed in his first two matches. Sjef struggled to find his shot until the third end, but fought back and then levelled the match in the fourth after Ellison uncharacteristically shot an arrow through his clicker.
“I made a huge mistake, It just slipped, and as soon as I let it go I knew it was gonna be gone. You do something like that and feel guilty for winning,” said Ellison
The fifth end saw both archers shoot two 10 and an eight - and the title was almost van den Berg’s right there, as his eight was incredibly close to the nine-line. There was a tense moment as the judges measured, but it stayed an eight, and the final went to a shoot-off – the first and last of the day.
The feeling while they were measuring?
“I was hoping for a nine, but I was ready for the shoot-off,” said Sjef.
Brady shot first, and put in a wide nine.
“I was thinking that I gave him a lot of room and he was going to beat me. I really didn’t think that that was going to be a good enough shot to win.” he said. Sjef stepped up – and shot an eight.
“As soon as I saw Sjef let that arrow go, I turned to my wife and said ‘that looks good’. Maybe he didn’t see some wind or something out on the field, and I just got lucky,” Brady added.
Ellison, an advocate for rewarding consistency in shooting, was frank about the way the match played out: “I’m still going to take the win, that’s the system we play in. I don’t feel like I really deserve this one - Sjef shot good, and came back. In the shoot-off we both put it out left, and luckily mine was a little closer.”
“It means a lot. It’s my fourth World Cup Final championship. Sara Lopez was getting close, but winning it this time and pushing it a little farther out of reach, feels good. It caps a pretty good year. I won the indoor World Cup final, individual Olympic medal, bronze at the world championships, and now this,” Ellison said. Lopez, a compound woman who withdrew from Odense, won in 2014 and 2015.
In the bronze medal final, an upbeat Ku Bonchan seemed happy with the bronze he took against Wei Chun-Heng - meaning that the men’s podium featured three of the top four finishers at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“There’s lots of very nice competitors, very nice archers in here, so I think it was a good result. I’m now going to focus on the Indoor Archery World Cup in Bangkok,” Ku said afterwards – shortly before swapping shirts with Brady Ellison.
Brady won the world cup final title in in 2012 in Tokyo, also held immediately after the Olympic Games - where Ki Bo Bae also took the individual title. (She repeated the feat, too, in Odense.)
The 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final runs 24/25 September in Odense, Denmark.