Experts predict: Bold statements on the 2017 season
The year after an Olympics is a busy one for the international archery calendar. A full slate of Hyundai Archery World Cup events, a few world archery championships – including the main event, in Mexico City in 2017 – and a World Games, makes for a lot of plane-time for the world’s best archers.
Before it begins and we get any idea of form, standards or who’ll star on the finals field throughout the year, we’ve collected some far-too-early predictions from our reporting team of archery experts…
Journalist and blogger
Tanja Jensen will win gold at the World Archery Championships.
After the spectacular win in Vegas, when she was the only woman clean on 600 after two days, and a triumph in Nimes, 2017 is Tanja’s to take. She's had multiple team golds outdoors in the last couple of years and will not be fazed by the big stages – plus she already took a medal in Mexico this year at the Versus MX Shoot.
There are just a handful of women who can challenge Sara Lopez at the top, and Jensen is one of them.
Turnover at the top a given, but experience will prevail.
One trend that seems to be consistent after every Olympic year is the emergence of new talent, as members of the old guard sometimes tend to dial back the hard work needed to stay on top. We have already seen this in Korea where the reigning men’s Olympic Champion failed to make the national team, having spent considerable time on the road touring and putting on sponsor events rather than continuing his normal training regimen.
Early predictions are dangerous – but there are some safe bets. Three of them? We will see Ki Bo Bae podium at three world events this season and contend for another World Archery Championship crown. We will see Japan’s recurve women take another gold medal on the international circuit. And, last but not least, we will see Brady Ellison contend for another Hyundai Archery World Cup Final win.
Sara Lopez will retain her world number one ranking.
There’s simply no-one that can knock her off the top spot – and she’ll finish the season first for the fourth consecutive season. Ki Bo Bae will win the recurve women’s event at the World Archery Championships, doing what no-one else in the category has done since Kim Soo-Nyung in 1989 and 1991: Successfully defend the world title.
Standard of compound classes will rise.
This year has the potential for surprising results. We've got lots of turnover in archery – people have left after the last Olympic cycle, newcomers are emerging with Tokyo 2020 in sight – and that can make a season unpredictable, especially with a World Archery Championships ahead.
I think we’ll see an even higher level of competition in the compound divisions, as the potential for Olympic inclusion hovers on the horizon and countries continue to step up their game.
Matt Stutzman will enter the upper echelons of the world rankings.
After a disappointing finish at the 2016 Paralympic Games, the Armless Archer, Matt Stutzman, made the decision to compete in able-bodied competition with a view to making the USA squad. Stutzman hopes to qualify to compete at the Wroclaw 2017 World Games and has the pedigree to do so, as a runner-up at the Paralympics in 2012.
A change of competition and focus for Stutzman will get him on track towards his goal of being the best archer in the world.
Atanu Das will win gold at one of the Hyundai Archery World Cup stages.
Back on the Indian national team in 2016 after one year without any international competition, Das picked up two bronze medals and one silver in team and mixed team events at the two stages he attended last season. Individually, he finished ninth and fourth.
In Antalya, his bronze medal match against Kim Woojin was probably one of the best matches of 2016 – a solid performance that prequelled a solid performance as India’s sole man at the Olympic in Rio, where he seeded fifth and finished in the top 10 overall.
He’s been so close to making the individual podium – and he’s hungry for it. It’s won’t take long for Atanu to make the leap.
Ludivine Maitre Wicki
PJ Deloche will rank number one in the world again.
After tough national trials in France, which saw world number nine and reigning World Archery Indoor Champion Seb Peineau – who has been injured for the entire preceding indoor season – fail to qualify, PJ Deloche made his return to the squad.
The former world number one – who reigned over the compound men’s category for 601 days from October 2013 to May 2015 and was named athlete of the year in 2014 – previously said he left the team to focus on his family, after his passion for the sport was lost through distractions in other parts of his life.
Training sets of 12, 24 and 36 arrows to find his form again, PJ is convinced that with his return the French qualification record of 713 – his – will fall, and he’ll be back on the international podium again.
Recurve women will shoot 690+ in 2017.
Kim Woojin said, ahead of the Olympic Games, that he would break the ranking round world record. During Rio, I stood about four metres behind him as he shot 10, then nine, then four consecutive 10s to do just that, with 700 points.
I’ve never been as much of a fanboy in archery as I was at that moment.
Ki Bo Bae – who, like Kim, is a reigning world champion – has the recurve women’s world record at 686. Since she shot that score at the Universiade in Gwangju in 2015, both her teammate Choi Misun and India’s Deepika Kumari have equalled it.
Whether any of the three – or someone else – is as bold as Kim to state intention on the score, someone’s going to beat it. I don’t think it’ll be by a point, either. That record is going into the 690s next.
The 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup season starts with stage one on 16-21 May in Shanghai, China.