Russia dishes Olympic revenge on top-seeded Korea
Russia’s recurve women’s team handed Olympic Champion Korea a shock straight-sets defeat in the Shanghai quarterfinals then beat a Japanese trio in the semis to land a gold medal match berth. Korea beat Russia in the final of Rio 2016 – but their clash at the opening stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup ran to a different script.
“From beginning to end we were just shooting our arrows without thinking who we were shooting against. We’re happy with the results and making the gold medal match is something we deserve for shooting so well today,” said Natalia Erdynieva.
On an afternoon characterised by inconsistent winds across both sides of Yuanshen Sports Centre Stadium, the Russian women opened with a 56 to Korea’s 55 to take an early lead from which they never looked back. The Koreans couldn’t find the 10-ring until the last set, when an unfortunate six sunk any chance of a comeback.
“There was wind during the match and we were not 100% confident with our shooting. The Russian team was shooting very well and we expected a good match against them from the beginning. We also felt the pressure and it didn’t help us to do our job,” said Korea’s team captain Chang Hye Jin.
Russia then beat fourth-seeded China, 5-3, to set up a final against the USA.
“This is our first competition as a team. We have a good connection and we support each other. I hope this is just a small bite of how the rest of the season will turn out,” Tsyrempilova added.
The USA beat India, 6-2, then Japan and Malaysia in straight sets, 6-0.
All three top seeds had been eliminated from the competition by the end of the quarterfinals: Korea lost to Russia, Chinese Taipei to 10-ranked Malaysia, and Japan to the USA.
A new-look Japanese recurve women’s team, which saw the return of Ren Hayakawa, said it was still working on its rhythm after completing a pre-event training camp: “This is the first time we shoot as a team, so we didn’t have the full team dynamic yet.”
The first stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 16 to 21 May in Shanghai, China.