Olympic Champion Ku Bonchan off Korean squad
Ku Bonchan, reigning individual Olympic Champion from Rio 2016, will not shoot internationally in 2017 after failing to make the eight-man Korean squad at the first of two national selection stages. After sitting in the top five halfway through the event, Ku struggled during the latter phases and dropped to 10th.
London 2012 winner Oh Jin Hyek led the men, starting slowly but finishing first in each of the last three (of 12 total) phases in the tournament.
“During the first days I had some equipment problems so my performance wasn’t very good. There is still further qualification coming, so I will be ready,” said Oh. “The weather was a little bit cold and I struggled to feel my fingers – but I felt confident in my shooting.”
“My goal is to compete in the World Archery Championships. However, I’ve had some problems with my right shoulder and I’d like to avoid any more injury this year.”
All three of the women that competed in Rio qualified for the 2017 Korean squad: Chang Hye Jin, also the individual winner at the 2016 Olympic Games, London 2012 Champion Ki Bo Bae and Choi Misun finished second, fifth and first, respectively.
“I’m very satisfied to finish top and I will continue to do my best throughout the rest of this selection process,” said Choi.
Lee Seungyun and 70-metre world record holder Kim Woojin, who won men’s team gold at the last Olympics, with Ku, finished fifth and seventh – safely in the top eight.
Both of Korea’s representatives at the last Youth Olympic Games, held in 2014 in Nanjing, also made the cut. Lee Woo Seok came second in the men’s selection event and Lee Eun Gyeong seventh in the women’s.
Sixteen athletes in each of the men’s and women’s divisions – 32 in total – started the selection tournament on 16 March. Eight, four men and four women, were eliminated on 19 March – and a further four cut, including Ku, on 23 March.
The remaining eight men and eight women are invited to the Korean national squad and will train together for the year. A second selection stage, which concludes on 27 April, decides the four men and women that will represent the team on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit.
Korean men’s squad
- OH JIN HYEK
- LEE WOO SEOK
- KIM JONGHO
- IM DONG HYUN
- KIM WOOJIN
- Jung Tae Young
- LEE SEUNGYUN
- JIN JAE WANG