Im versus Kim: Crazy shoot-off decides all-Korea final
An all-Korean recurve men’s final in Salt Lake City went down to the last arrow of regulation, and then even further, as Kim Woojin missed an eight-to-win opportunity and let Im Dong Hyun take a shot at winning the match in a tiebreaker.
Kim shot first in the shoot-off, posting a nine about a millimetre out of the 10-ring on the right side. Im Dong Hyun’s arrow, was also right, but hit the 10-line.
“I thought the match was over before Kim’s last arrow. I never thought having the chance of a shoot-off,” said Im, who hadn’t worn shades throughout the match – until the tiebreaker.
“Because of the wind, my eyes were crying a bit, so I had to put my sunglasses to protect them from the wind. I saw that Kim shot a 9.9 so I thought there was no chance I would shoot a 10 – but that’s what I went for, and that’s what I got.”
On paper, the match-up was as close as it turned out to be. Both Kim and Im’s average arrow scores over the preceding 24 months were 9.49 and Kim’s win percentage 80% to Im’s 79%.
Kim, the World Archery Champion in 2011 and 2015 opened with a 30 to win the first set of the Salt Lake final – but after three, the pair were tied. Kim won the fourth to go 5-3 up, before 2007 World Archery Champion Im posted three nines in the fifth set.
Woojin had one 10, one nine on the board and needed just an eight to win the match. He shot a seven, wide and left, and that sent the match to its tiebreak conclusion.
“The wind was blowing towards the three o’clock, and I aimed to nine o’clock and the arrow just hit where I was aiming,” said Kim, explaining his bad arrow.
“It’s very difficult to shoot a 10 under pressure in a one-arrow shoot-off. I shot nine and it was a bit disappointing because my opponent was Im Dong Hyun, who’s very strong and able to shoot 10 at any time. I thought I shot a 10 but it was a 9.9.”
The Longines Prize for Precision during stage three was awarded to the recurve man who shot the most 10s throughout the tournament. Woojin was leading the count, heading into the final, and would have won if he had shot his winning eight – but Im’s shoot-off 10 put him ahead and stole the Longines watch prize!
The third stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 20 to 25 June in Salt Lake City, USA