Way too early 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup predictions

20 April 2018
Our archery pundits picked the names they think will rise above the rest this year.

The indoor season is long in the rear view mirror and we’re on the brink of an international outdoor circuit full of promise.

In 2018, the Hyundai Archery World Cup visits Shanghai, Antalya, Salt Lake City and Berlin for its qualifying stages, before a final back in Turkey, in the northern Black Sea resort city of Samsun.

Before things kick off, here’s who our round table of archery journalists think will shine over the 2018 international archery season.

John Stanley
Editor and blogger

Top archers: Sjef van den Berg, Kang Chae Young, Mike Schloesser and So Chaewon

I’m picking Sjef from a Dutch recurve men’s team of, frankly, terrifying quality. Kang Chae Young showed gritty consistency through the tortuous Korean selection process, while her compound compatriot Chaewon destroyed her field in the same competition. 

With none of the top compound men in dominant form, I’m picking the champion in Yankton – Schloesser – to continue the good work

Breakthrough: Lee Eun Gyeong

The 20-year-old Youth Olympian has finally made the frontline international Korean team this year after threatening to break in for several years. She won the Asian championships at the end of last year, beating Ki Bo Bae on the way, so seems ready for the big stage. 

She's the most in-form Korean woman right now, with all that that implies. The possibilities are limitless. 

Surprise: Deepika Kumari

Hopefully!

Vanessa Lee
Analyst

Top archers: Sjef van den Berg, Alejandra Valencia, Stephan Hansen and Yesim Bostan

Sjef proved, once again, he’s a contender after his double gold in Yankton. He’s dealing with a wrist injury but I think he’ll come back stronger than ever. Valencia has been consistent for the majority of the decade. I don’t see Hansen slowing down anytime soon and I’m excited to see what Yesim can do after her success at the worlds in Mexico City.

Emiel Custers
Coach

Top archers: Kim Woojin, Tan Ya-Ting, Mike Schloesser and Yesim Bostan

If the Korean selection shoot has shown anything, it’s probably that Woojin is in the best shape of his career, while Tan is the only one who consistently competes with the Korean women.

If he can fight off his finals woes, where he is improving every event, Mike will dominate the compound scene once again. Following medals in Berlin and Rome last year, Bostan is on a trajectory aimed at the number one ranking spot in the world.

Breakthrough: Ricardo Soto

This will be Ricardo’s year. After a top-16 finish in Rio, a medal at the junior worlds in Rosario and a strong showing in Mexico City, at the subsequent senior worlds, Soto will climb a World Cup podium in 2018.

Surprise: Chinese Taipei recurve women

They’ll be ranked number one in the world at the end of the 2018 season, not the Koreans.

Ludivine Maitre Wicki
Journalist

Top archers: Steve Wijler, Alejandra Valencia, Abhishek Verma and Song Yun Soo

The two recurves will keep strong endings to the 2017 season going, while if Deepika Kumari doesn’t float Indian medal hopes, Verma will. Song Yun Soo has a world title to double down on.

Breakthrough: Jan van Tongeren

He’ll follow in the footsteps of his elders (just) – Rick van der Ven, Sjef van den Berg and Steve Wijler – and add yet another asset to the strong Dutch team.

Surprise: Sophie Dodemont

Will win her first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage at the age of 44, after a four-season international break.

Andrea Vasquez
Journalist

Top archers: Sjef van den Berg, Lee Eun Gyeong, Stephan Hansen and Linda Ochoa-Anderson

The Netherlands recurve men’s team is one of the strongest we’ve ever seen. Lee Eun Gyeong is a young injection into the Korean women’s squad – and she finished second only behind Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin in selections. Hansen has just been consistent, while Linda’s strong qualifications are ready to be converted in to regular trips up the podium.

Breakthrough: Jan van Tongeren

Jan made his international debut at the worlds in Copenhagen in 2015 and competed at the Olympic test event. He didn’t make it to the subsequent Olympic Games, but what have these few seasons of maturing done for his all-round archery game?

Surprise: Gabriela Bayardo

Former Mexican Olympian Bayardo, who’s relocated to the Netherlands, will be eligible to debut for her new adopted homeland sometime mid-2018. After a decent indoor season and solid year gap, she’ll add experience to a Dutch women’s bench that’s been empty for some time.

Dean Alberga
Photographer

Top archers: Steve Wijler, Tan Ya-Ting, Mike Schloesser and So Chaewon

A year of the youngsters, even though the old guard like Oh Jin Hyek and Im Dong Hyun are still good enough to defend places on the Korean team? Sjef had a good indoor season but Steve was close. Tan will make the leap towards stardom and the sky is the limit for Mister Perfect.

Compound women is tough, but with Sara Lopez out of contention for a while, nobody really stepped up; she will be back in Shanghai but does the magic remain? Chaewon is on the up.

Breakthrough: Tatiana Andreoli

A fighter who will make her mark in the senior divisions sooner rather than later.

Surprise: Dutch recurve men

Perhaps not a surprise, but impressive. With Sjef and Steve leading the pack, the Dutch recurve men look unstoppable on paper.

Chis Wells
Journalist

Top archers: Kim Woojin, Lisa Unruh, Roberto Hernandez and Yesim Bostan

Woojin’s statistical consistency is unparalleled, in Korea and abroad. I rate Lisa’s practical, simple and efficient way of shooting (check our her #shootlikeme) and Hernandez, who is such a cool guy, just shot a career-best qualifying score (714/720) to start his year.

Bostan has medals but not wins. She’s close – and just needs one more match to click.

Breakthrough: Lee Eun Gyeong

It was four years ago that Eun Gyeong shot at the Youth Olympics – and she’s been bubbling away in the Korean squad for years. She’ll start strong, not dominant, internationally – and only improve.

Surprise: Riau Ega Agatha

It’s an Asian Games year and Riau Ega Agatha, who previously finished third in Shanghai, is one of a handful of Indonesian athletes who have previously sprung surprise results on some of the biggest names in archery. We’ve only seen him once since Rio – where he famously knocked out top seed and presumptive favourite Kim Woojin in round two.

The first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup will take place in Shanghai, China on 23-29 April.