Experts predict: Break-out archers in 2017
Every year, there’s at least one notable athlete that finds a seam of form, who increases his or her arrow average, takes any nerves in a two-handed grip and raises their game, breaking-out from being one of the pack to climbing international podiums as one of the best on the world stage.
In 2014, Brazil’s Marcus D’Almeida made the Archery World Cup Final at the age of just 16. One year later, it was Stephan Hansen converting youth success into a World Archery Champion title on home soil in Copenhagen.
In the lead-up to Rio, Sjef van den Berg won his first stage – then came fourth at the Olympics – before finishing the year with a runner-up performance at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.
With one stage of the world tour done, our archery experts have picked who they think will break out in 2017…
Journalist and blogger
Japan’s recurve men’s team is full of quality.
After a slight recurve slump in the last couple of years, In Shanghai they put in an end of 59 in each of their first two matches (more than the Koreans managed) and were a little unlucky against Kazakhstan before easily outshooting France for bronze. If they can perform like that again against the big teams, they should be seeing gold before long. - John
Atanu Das is primed for success.
After the early exit in Shangai, I believe India's Das will come back stronger in upcoming tournaments and take podium positions. He’s been practising hard ever since finishing ninth at the Olympics and seems to forever be in contention. – Selva
Gazoz only at the beginning.
The 17-year-old has grown steadily since his appearance at the Youth Olympic Games in 2014. Runner-up at the European Championships in Nottingham in 2016, Turkey’s Mete Gazoz made his Olympic debut in Rio and recently beat 2013 World Archery Champion Lee Seungyun to gold in the final of the Conquest Cup in Istanbul. Young and blessed with plenty of potential, he's worth watching. – Andrea
Ludivine Maitre Wicki
The next in a line of Mexican recurve women.
Ana Paula Vazquez set a new continental record in the recurve women’s cadet category with 662 out of a possible 720 points at the recent Mexican nationals. She started archery with a compound – but her coaches encouraged her to make the change because, now just 16 years of age, she has the time to make a career.
She’ll shoot in the world youth championships in 2017 as a junior rather than a cadet because she wants to shoot 70 metres and she’ll make her senior debut at the Central American and Caribbean Games qualifier in Guatemala this year, joining Olympic silver medallist Aida Roman, bronze medallist Mariana Avitia and, fourth-place finisher in Rio, Alejandra Valencia. – Ludivine
Gankin no fluke.
The surprise victory of the Kazakhstan men’s team against the heavily-favourited Korea in Shanghai could have opened a door for these archers to take centre stage as individuals. The most experienced and the highest-qualifier in the Kazakhstan team, Denis Gankin is statistically the favourite for any individual success. If Gankin can keep the momentum going and repeat that team performance while flying solo, Kazakhstan’s first world podium could turn into many more. – Heather
Das climbing podium is inevitable.
With solid top-10 finishes over the past three years and beating some big names in the process, it would surprise me if Atanu did not finish on the individual podium this year at international events. India needs a new superstar and with his nearly-9.4 arrow average he has potential to be the one. (I wanted to pick Steve Wijler, but was told it was cheating since he already won in Shanghai!) – Dean
Atanu to win World Cup Final.
Over the last four stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup Atanu Das has competed at, stretching back to 2014, he has finished inside the top 10 in each and every one, though never taken a medal. If he had attended more events over the past few years – and maintained that level – we would have already seen him at a World Cup Final.
I don’t think the Indian recurve man will podium at a stage in 2017. My hope, though, is that he shoots all four events on the circuit (India has currently entered into all four), then qualifies for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Rome and lays down a break-out performance. It would be well-deserved. – Chris
The 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup season continues with stage two on 6-11 June in Antalya, Turkey.