Lee Woo Seok seeds top at world championships with 696 after illness scare

10 June 2019
’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
It was uncertain over the weekend whether the world number one would even compete in these championships.

Korea’s Lee Woo Seok, the world number one, has seeded top in the recurve men’s event at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch after shooting 696 out of a possible 720 points for the 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round.

“I’m happy with the result because today the wind was very still. I was expecting good results and all the other archers were shooting very well, too. I’m happy to have finished top,” he said.

“The field condition was excellent. Everything was perfect. All the archers shot so well and it pushed me to shoot better and better.”

As recently as yesterday, it was uncertain whether Woo Seok would even shoot these championships. He had pain in his stomach over the weekend and at one point the team feared he had appendicitis.

A replacement athlete was ready to travel from Korea for this all-important tournament, but Lee recovered quickly – and was feeling much better by the end of the day on Sunday.

“I don’t know whether it was in my mind or I was nervous for the competition but I’ve had pain in my stomach,” he explained. “It’s all okay now and I’m glad I was able to shoot.”

The 696-point score is the best of Lee Woo Seok’s international career.

He jumped ahead of second-ranked Brady Ellison in the last end of qualification. The two were tied on 637 points with six arrows left to shoot. Lee’s last end tallied 59 points, Brady’s 58.

“You don’t win them in the ranking round, so I was just shooting. I was more just trying to break the world record today and I just made a couple of mistakes at the wrong time,” said Ellison.

“Six-ninety-five is a good score. It’s where I’ve been practising all year, so it’s been normal for me to shoot this. I’m a little disappointed because I felt in this weather, if I finally got it in a tournament this year, I would shoot over 700.”

Kim Woojin, Sjef van den Berg, Mauro Nespoli, Tang Chih-Chun and Marcus D’Almeida, who shot 685 points, completed the top eight.

The cut to make the matchplay stage of the tournament in 104th place was 645 points. There was a six-way shoot-off for the last spot, which Portugal’s Tiago Matos won.

This level is the highest seen at a world championships since the move from the 1440 Round to 70 metres in 2015. The top recurve men’s seeds at the last two championships scored 676 and 666 points – and the cut for the top-104 athletes was previously highest four years ago at 624.

Korea ranked top in the all-important team event in ’s-Hertogenbosch, followed by the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei. Turkey, China, Canada, the USA and Great Britain also receive top-eight byes into the second round (top 16).

The top eight finishing teams at these championships will receive three-athlete quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.