Rookie Wijler upsets World Champion for Shanghai gold

21 May 2017
Shanghai (CHN)
The Netherland’s Steve Wijler was competing in his first ever senior international.

New to the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit, 20-year-old Dutchman Steve Wijler beat reigning World Archery Champion and Olympic team gold medallist Kim Woojin to the recurve men’s title at his first ever stage in Shanghai, China.

“I definitely didn’t expect to win,” said Steve. “I was coming here thinking that if I made the top 32 or something then it would be okay. It’s really special for me. I was just shooting and having fun.”

The youngest on the Dutch team knocked out three-time Olympic medallist Im Dong Hyun in the semis and, then, Woojin in the finals arena.

He opened the set with 29 points to take the lead against Woojin’s 26. Then, he made it 4-0, with a 28, one more than the Korean man.

In the third set, Steve shot a seven and that was the set lost – and the start of a possible collapse. But, in the fourth and last set, there was nothing Woojin could do against the rookie Steve’s perfect 30.

The match was sealed at 6-2.

“The main point for me is that I like the things I do, and it was really awesome to be here. I definitely had a lot of nerves. I shot a seven, there was a lot of wind on my bow; it happens. Every moment that I’ve stayed longer here I’ve loved it,” Steve added.

World number three Woojin, astonished by his loss, was upset.

“I just can’t explain what happened today,” he said. “I think I need to put a lot more effort into my shooting if I want to win the upcoming stages.”

Earlier in the session, Woojin won silver, with Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin, in the mixed team event over Chinese Taipei’s Tan Ya-Ting and Wei Chun-Heng.

Im Dong Hyun, who was out of the official Korean national team for two years, defeated Dutchman and Rio 2016 fourth-place finisher Sjef van den Berg for bronze in five sets, 7-3. He said: “Getting bronze it’s good for me and I’m satisfied as it’s the start of the season after being off of the team for the past few years. I think what’s coming might be great.”

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