Kim on Wijler: I know how good he is
Two-time World Archery Champion and Olympic team gold medallist Kim Woojin was described by Brady Ellison in Shanghai as ‘the best archer there has ever been’, during his 10th year on the international circuit.
He won last year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Rome almost at a stroll, in crushing form.
The defending champion arrives after a mixed season – by his own lofty standards – which saw him become the first man to win two Asian Games titles, although the men’s team did lose to Chinese Taipei at the same tournament, just as they did at the Berlin stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in 2018.
But his performances this season, after a triumphant opening in Shanghai, haven’t quite inspired the same awe.
“It’s been a difficult year,” said Woojin.
“The first World Cup event I got the result I needed to be here, and I liked it. But after that, my form wasn’t so good and I lost my standard. So this could be a good turning point.”
Is it difficult to maintain top pace for a major tournament at the end of a long season?
“I try not to think about the competition that much. I just focus on each game. But when there is another competition at the end of the line, having plenty of time to recover is important. So I’m good to come here,” he said.
He is excited about his first round at least, which is – at least on paper – difficult to call.
“I'm going to shoot with Steve Wijler in the first match, I shot against him at the last competition [Wijler won that, 7-1], and during the previous season too, and I’m well aware of what a high-level shooter he is,” said Woojin.
“But a match-up with him will bring a lot of attention, so it will be good for everybody to see and I will shoot my best.”
(Wijler currently leads the head-to-head with Kim, 2-1, across three matches at world ranking level.)
Ten years on the circuit is a pretty long career for a Korean archer, but the only goal that has so far eluded the 26-year-old – an individual Olympic medal – is still in sight.
“Should I go to the [Tokyo] Olympics? I don’t know [laughs]. I’d like to shoot longer than Oh Jin Hyek anyway. I’d love to get the results he did over a long period of time,” said Kim.
Oh Jin Hyek became Olympic champion at the age of 31.
Kim Woojin’s got a few more years of competition left in him yet.
The 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final takes place on 29-30 September in Samsun, Turkey.