No regrets, says runner-up Sjef on 2016 World Cup Final
A gold medal in Shanghai early in 2016, a fourth place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and a silver medal at the 2016 Hyundai World Cup Final in Odense all cemented young Dutch archer Sjef van den Berg as one of the best recurve archers in the world in a break-out season.
He opened the 2017 season with a fourth place in Shanghai – while teammate Steve Wijler took gold – and then finished ninth in Salt Lake City and seventh in Berlin to secure his second Hyundai Archery World Cup Final berth in a row.
Over the year, Sjef said, things have changed for the better.
“I changed mostly mentally. I now go shooting because I want to and not because I have to, which is something I had some troubles with last year. During competitions like this, I don’t feel stressed anymore; I’m just enjoying myself and my shooting,” he said.
In his two major medal match finals in 2016 – Rio and Odense – Sjef lost to the same athlete: Brady Ellison.
The Olympic individual bronze and two-time team silver medallist shot a wide nine in a shoot-off in the Odense gold medal match – and then Sjef posted an eight, immediately shaking his head.
He knew he had lost it.
“The result was [rough], but the shot was pretty good,” he said. “I still remember that I felt good about the shot when it went off but it landed in the eight and cost me the first place.”
“I don’t have any bad feelings about that World Cup Final, though; I’m still proud that I finished second. I’ll try to do the same here as last year, which is trying to do my best.”
Looking more comfortable and secure around the line, the 22-year-old is now ranked number five in the world.
“I think I have to shoot against Im Dong Hyun but in all fairness, it doesn’t really matter because I will still have to do my best anyway,” he said.
“[To win here] you need to not make too many mistakes because the whole competition is at very high, tight level. You win making sure you keep shooting good scores and not messing up too much – and by mistakes I mean, more mental than physically.”
Sjef’s quarterfinal match against Im is the first of the recurve men’s quarterfinals, at 15h00 local time in Rome on recurve Sunday.
The 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final takes place on 2/3 September in Rome, Italy.