Rome 2017 competition preview #4: Recurve men

30 August 2017
Rome (ITA)
A division-by-division look at each athlete competing at the Rome 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

Archery’s annual international tour took athletes to Shanghai, Antalya, Salt Lake City and Berlin in 2017, as the world’s best shooters looked to secure ranking points towards qualifying for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

With the ranking lists settled after stage four, seven archers in each competition category – plus the top ranked mixed teams – were invited to Rome. Joined by an Italian host-nation representative at this 12th edition of the event, they’ll contest coveted Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion crowns.

All the previews

Statsheet #4: Recurve men

  • Number of athletes: 8
  • Number of nations: 6
  • Defending Champion: Brady Ellison
  • World number one: Kim Woojin

The one-to-beat

Nobody has won the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final as many times as Brady Ellison. He’s won it in seasons when he’s won everything – and he’s also won it in seasons when he’s podiumed nowhere else, but scored consistent top 10s.

There’s something about this event that brings out the best in Ellison. The four-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion can secure victory number five on the circuit if he wins Rome.

Storyline

Kim Woojin famously qualified first at Rio 2016, with an incredible 700-point qualification round, before falling in the second round. He’s not invincible and his first match in Rome is a stiff test.

Host-pick David Pasqualucci, only 21 years of age, won his first major senior medal in 2017 when he finished third in Antalya and is, frankly, fearless. Plus he’ll have the support of the home crowd in the Stadio dei Marmi.

Woojin and David have never faced each other in international competition before.

Qualifiers

(The seed for the event is given in brackets after each athlete’s name. Statistics are from the 2017 season only; average arrow in 70-metre ranking rounds and matches, match wins at continental level and above.)

KIM WOOJIN, Korea (1)

Two-time World Archery Champion (in 2011 and 2015) and world number one, Kim Woojin won the World Cup Final in Tokyo in 2012 – the same year in which he was famously left off the Olympic squad.

He’s having one of his best seasons yet and took two individual silver medals and a gold at the three Hyundai Archery World Cup stages in which he competed in 2017.

Average arrow: 9.47 / Match wins: 17-3 (85%)

IM DONG HYUN, Korea (2)

A veteran of the international circuit, who first medalled on the world stage in 2003 when he finished second in New York. Since then, he added a world title in 2007 and another runner-up medal two years later, plus a bucketload of World Cup stage gongs to go along with three Olympic team podiums.

At 31 years of age, he’s shooting the second highest per arrow average score of any recurve man in Rome.

Average arrow: 9.46 / Match wins: 10-2 (83%)

BRADY ELLISON, USA (3)

There is something about the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final that works for Brady Ellison. Arriving at the circuit finale in 2017, Brady is shooting 9.44 points per match arrow – the highest of anyone on the field.

The four-time winner of this event is two ahead of anybody else. He’s made eight of these competitions in a row – a ridiculous feat in itself – dating back to Edinburgh in 2010, and has podiumed at all but one of them.

Average arrow: 9.40 / Match wins: 17-9 (65%)

JC VALLADONT, France (4)

A true all-rounder in archery, Valladont took individual gold at the stage in Antalya in 2017. The Olympic silver medallist was also pivotal in France’s dramatic team win in Berlin. He finished top 10 at all four stages of the season’s Hyundai Archery World Cup.

Average arrow: 9.25 / Match wins: 27-6 (82%)

STEVE WIJLER, Netherlands (5)

In a surprise opening to the season, at Wijler’s debut no less, this 20-year-old Dutchman came from nowhere to beat Im Dong Hyun and Kim Woojin on his way to his first senior gold medal. He finished ninth in Salt Lake and Berlin, too – as if just to prove that opening was no fluke.

Average arrow: 9.19 / Match wins: 11-2 (85%)

WEI CHUN-HENG, Chinese Taipei (6)

Ranked seventh in the world arriving in Rome, a career-high, Wei had a personal best over the ranking round at the start of the season and picked up his second-ever individual podium on the international tour in Salt Lake City, with bronze. 

After finishing fourth in Odense to end 2016, sunglass-toting Chun-Heng is back for a second go at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final this time around.

Average arrow: 9.34 / Match wins: 8-4 (67%)

SJEF VAN DEN BERG, Netherlands (7)

At his second Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in a row, Sjef’s debut at the tournament came so close to victory. He went to a shoot-off with Ellison in the gold medal match and, after his States opponent shot a wide, wide nine, the Dutchman had a chance to win – but threw down an eight.

It’s a disappointment he’s got a chance to wipe clean in Rome.

Average arrow: 9.33 / Match wins: 7-4 (64%)

DAVID PASQUALUCCI, Italy (8)

Potentially the host nation athlete with the most… potential? A first-round match against Kim Woojin is never going to be easy, but it’s not unwinnable, especially for a young man looking to impress the home crowd.

Pasqualucci finished third in Antalya and wasn’t far off qualifying for Rome under his own steam. The indoor archery youth world champion was also impressive at the last Olympics, his first, seeding high but losing out to Antonio Fernandez in the second round.

Average arrow: 9.13 / Match wins: 9-3 (75%)

The gold final?

The prediction: Kim / Wei

In a World Archery Championship year, two-time and defending champion Kim Woojin gets the nod.

Gearing up for his third world title, he’s slowly and surely been shooting an impressive season – which is not yet on the wind down, but still on the rise in prepration for Mexico City.

Advantage: Kim

The 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final takes place on 2/3 September in Rome, Italy.

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