Netherlands break ‘curse’ to make recurve mixed team final at home world championships

13 June 2019
’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
The Netherlands had never won a recurve mixed team medal at the world championships before.

The host nation of the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships will shoot in a gold medal match.

Gabriela Bayardo and Sjef van den Berg will represent the Netherlands in the recurve mixed team final in the arena in ’s-Hertogenbosch. They’ll face Korea – in what is likely to be one of the noisiest matches of the weekend.

“I’m just happy that we finally broke the ‘curse’ of not reaching any finals and I think we showed what we are worth today,” said Sjef.

“This wind is very typical wind for us at our training centre in Papendal. It’s that kind of wind from the back left, which is what we mostly have there. Maybe we gained a little bit of an advantage from that today.”

The Dutch double beat Poland, Ukraine in a shoot-off and finally Chinese Taipei with three impressive sets of 37, 37 and 39 points to secure the gold medal match berth.

Their opponents in the final, reigning recurve mixed team world champion Korea, averaged more than 37 points a set in wins over Mexico, Turkey and Italy. Only one of those matches - the first – went more than three sets.

Kang Chae Young was paired with Im Dong Hyun when she won the mixed team title two years ago in Mexico City. This time, the recurve women’s world record holder is partnered with Lee Woo Seok.

“In the wind in the mixed team, I was able to adjust my aiming a little better so I was able to shoot more comfortably,” said Woo Seok.

“I prefer shooting the men’s team round because unfortunately, I have some not-so-great memories in the mixed team. In the men’s team round, you have three guys pushing each other along and there are six arrows an end. But in the mixed team, you only have four arrows so you end up with more tied ends.”

It’s in the mixed team, though, that the Lee will contest gold. His recurve men’s team lost a semifinal shoot-off to China.

A ferocious competitor, Woo Seok sometimes finds it difficult to control his eagerness to compete.

“My energy levels tend to be high in competitions so I’ve worked on staying calm,” he said. “In this situation, Olympic quota spots were at stake and I just wanted to do well so my energy was quite high this time around. Despite that, Chae Young and I worked well together and we were successful in the end.”

Italy and Chinese Taipei will take to the arena in the recurve mixed team bronze medal match. 

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