10 takeaways: Qualification at Shanghai 2017

17 May 2017
Shanghai (CHN)
Notes from the ranking round at the first stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup.

Korea dominated the recurve rankings, taking sweeps of the top four seeds in the individual competitions and, subsequently, poles in the team and mixed team competitions, as Reo Wilde and Sarah Sonnichsen – who both shot in the 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final – led compound qualification at the opening stage of 2017’s international circuit in Shanghai, China.

The new season has, officially, begun – and Zach Garrett explained that feeling best:

“There are always nerves for the first event of the season. I’ve been practising well so there are expectations and where there are expectations there are bound to be nerves. Beyond that, if you don’t have nerves then you don’t care.”

1. Korea 1-2-3-4

Showing no signs of slowing down after an incredible Olympic Games, Korean recurve archers seeded first, second, third and fourth in both the men’s and women’s categories.

Men: Kim Woojin (689), Im Dong Hyun (686), Kim Jongho (682), Oh Jin Hyek (682) 

Women: Chang Hye Jin (673), Ki Bo Bae (672), Choi Misun (667), Kang Chae Young (661)

“It was good for me to do well. It’s qualification but a good start ahead of the competition,” said World Archery Champion Kim Woojin.

“We have freshman Kim Jongho as a new member in our team but at the same time Im Dong Hyun and Oh Jin Hyek are my old teammates and we are comfortable to make the team work. I’m very confident about that and looking forward to a good performance this year.”

The top three qualifying athletes from any nation are automatically selected for the team competition, though management may swap the line-up.

Interestingly, Korea asked for Kim Jongho to be replaced by Oh Jin Hyek in the men’s team and Ki Bo Bae was taken out of the women’s in favour of Kang Chae Young.

A source said the chosen team rosters corresponded to the ranking after national selections.

2. European record

Dane Sarah Sonnichsen’s 707 was enough for top seed in the compound women’s field and a new European record, one point more than the previous mark – which she set back in the summer of 2016.

3. Weather report

A morning of sunshine and mostly calm winds, some archers said conditions were near perfect while others reported a little left and right movement. In the afternoon, it pulsated stronger.

“I couldn’t find myself and figure out the wind,” explained Aida Roman – on her rough start to qualification. She shot eight points better over the back half to climb into eighth overall, which gave her a third-round bye.

“In Mexico City we don’t get to shoot much with wind so it’s good to have the chance here to get yourself into it and learn how to handle it so the scores don’t get affected.”

4. Lopez prioritising

The world’s number one ranked compound woman seeded second in Shanghai, seven points back on leader Sonnichsen.

“I’ve learned that whether I top qualification or I don’t, I always have a chance to shoot in the finals,” said Sara Lopez.

“I feel a lot of pressure because I decided to quit school for a year. I was supposed to be graduating from medical school and would have been a doctor by December – so I have to make sure I made the right decision.”

Lopez had bronze medals in both the last editions of the World Archery Championships and World Games, both taking place next in 2017.

“And I want to break the record for the longest number-one ranked archer in the world,” Sara added. She closed 2016 ranked top for the third year in a row, and will have accumulated more time at number one, consecutively or cumulatively, than any other athlete since the launch of the Hyundai Archery World Cup if she remains there for six more months.

5. Baptism of fire

Brit Tom Hall made his Hyundai Archery World Cup debut in Shanghai, ranking 74th in the recurve men’s competition with 629 points.

“It’s not as good as I would have liked to have been. I put a lot of pressure on myself to come in and shoot a big score. There’s a lot to learn, lots to figure out about the nerves and the pressure,” he explained.

6. Wilde’s X-count

Top compound archer Reo Wilde, who won the first Hyundai Archery World Cup title in 2006, topped his field – but only on X-count. Kim Jongho, from Korea – and not the same as was in the recurve competition (different athletes, same names) – tied him on 707 points.

Both had 59 arrows in the gold, but Reo had 30 arrows in the X-ring, the inner 10, to Kim’s 27.

This scoring ring is only used to decide ties during the ranking round.

7. Top teams

  • Compound men: USA  (2116), Korea  (2101), Denmark  (2099)
  • Compound women: Korea  (2084), Colombia  (2073), Denmark  (2061)
  • Recurve men: Korea  (2057), USA  (2015), Japan  (1991)
  • Recurve women: Korea  (2012), Chinese Taipei  (1958), Japan  (1950)

8. Indian pair

Atanu Das seeded sixth in the recurve men’s list behind the Korean four and Zach Garrett, from the USA, while Deepika Kumari was fifth, trailing only the Koreans.

Kumari, who said during practice that she needed to identify the difference between winning and coming runner-up after finishing second at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final four times, has been strong for some time. In Das, she has a consistent shooting-mate – and the pair could blossom into a mixed team to be respected.

9. Returning #1

France’s PJ Deloche, a former world number one compound man, ranked 12th.

“I’m just a bit angry because in my last end I shot four nines, and I had the goal to reach the top eight in competition,” he said, after finishing four points adrift of the 703 he needed.

“It‘s good to be back. I stopped everything and I’m just watching my surroundings, assimilating where I am, that there are a lot friends around, and it makes me feel good.”

10. Never easy

After two significant domestic wins on the domestic 3D circuit in the USA, Steve Anderson arrived in Shanghai on form.

“The World Cup is the hardest place to make the podium. It requires a couple of good days of shooting, one good day of shooting through the brackets, occasionally some luck within the bracket – who you’re going to face – so it’s not all in your hands,” he said.

“They’re hard to win. I obviously haven’t won one yet but I hope this year I can hit the podium at least once.”

The first stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 16 to 21 May in Shanghai, China.