Olympic Champions to go head-to-head for Shanghai gold
Chang Hye Jin and Ki Bo Bae, archery’s last two women’s individual Olympic Champions, will go head-to-head in the gold medal match at the first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai. Chang was the winner of the most recent Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, while Ki – who took bronze at that event – won London 2012.
Seeded first and second in Shanghai, respectively, the two Korean woman said climbing the podium would already be a reward after losing to Russia in straight sets during the quarterfinals of the team eliminations.
“Last time I won a World Cup stage was in Antalya in 2014. I’ve been trying to make it for the past three years and here in Shanghai I finally got the chance to make it happen. I had to a put a lot of effort into it but it has been worth it,” said Chang.
Ki added: “I didn’t expect to be in the gold medal match because before coming to Shanghai, I wasn’t as fit and in form as I wished to. My expectations were that low. Considering our team performance, it is good that Chang and I made it to the final. It’s always satisfying shooting for gold.”
Chang beat Ki in the semifinals in Rio.
The only other international match they’ve contested came in Shanghai in 2012, when Ki Bo Bae ousted her teammate in the quarterfinals in a shoot-off. Ki shot a 10, Chang an eight.
Ahead of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup season, the pair stacked comparable stats.
Over the 24 months preceding the tournament in Shanghai, Ki’s average arrow value across qualification and matchplay was 9.3 while Chang’s was 9.35. Ki, though, won 81% of career international matches against Chang’s 70%.
Chang beat Loke Shin Hui from Malaysia, Le Chien-Ying from Chinese Taipei and Lan Lu from China before making the final four. She then met London 2012 team bronze medallist Ren Hayakawa in the semifinals.
Hayakawa won the first set, 28-25, but the Korean team captain recovered to win the next three.
“I started really bad my semifinal match against Ren Hayakawa,” said Chang. “I never thought I was going to lose but I did have to push myself harder to overcome the score and win the match.”
After a huge comeback during the Korean national team trials to make the 2017 squad, Bo Bae shot 672, one point less that Chang, out of a possible 720, to seed second over the Shanghai ranking round.
The recurve women’s bronze medal match will feature Ren and Perova.
The first stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 16 to 21 May in Shanghai, China.