Korea-Chinese Taipei rivalry shaping up early in season
The top six qualifying recurve women at the first stage of the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai, China all hailed from either Korea or Chinese Taipei.
Koreans Kang Chae Young and Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin were tied with Chinese Taipei’s Lei Chien-Ying, the half-time leader, on 675 out of a possible 720 points at the 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round.
“At the start I was nervous, but I got better for the second and finished well,” said Kang, the leader on 10-count (with 36).
Lei, who was running at world-record pace for much of the morning, added: “I am very happy to be in the top three but at the end of qualification I was frustrated. I got nervous because I knew I was shooting well.”
In the recurve women’s team event, Korea seeded first, Chinese Taipei second – likely the start of many close finishes this season.
Although Korea has won all but one of the recurve women’s team titles at the Asian Games since 1982 (China won in Hiroshima in 1994) and Chinese Taipei’s last medal was bronze in 2006, other recent multisport events on the continent have seen major clashes between the two squads.
At the last two Universiades, in which Kang, Le and Tan Ya-Ting (fourth seed in Shanghai) shot one or both, the teams met in the gold finals.
In Gwangju in 2015, Chinese Taipei silenced a raucous crowd by dispatching the heavily-favoured local team – and then Korea returned the favour in Taipei City, two years later, in 2017.
While both those tournaments took place since the last Asian Games, neither had a team from China present.
It’s a long season, but with the Asian Games as a highlight, the top-two ranked recurve women’s teams in the world look strong after just 72 arrows.
The first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place in Shanghai, China on 23-29 April.