World championships 2019: Recurve finals line-up, preview and predictions
The recurve events at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch have been, predictably, unpredictable. That is, all except for two people.
Brady Ellison has continued the incredible form he already showed on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit – qualifying well but winning matches better. He faces a dangerous opponent in Khairul Anuar Mohamad, free from all expectation, for the world title.
Kang Chae Young has not lost a match internationally in 2019. She might be one of the best ever, having increased her own world record at this event. It will take a monster performance from Lei Chien-Ying to unseat her.
There are clear favourites in both of the recurve finals at these championships. But – just as we’ve seen in the Olympic qualification events throughout the competition week – what should happen isn’t what always does happen.
Brady Ellison (2)/Khairul Anuar Mohamad (16)
Recurve men’s gold medal match
“‘Brady Ellison, world champion’ would sound pretty good, I would really like the sound of that but I have one more match and I’m not going to think about it.”
This is that one match for Ellison.
He only has to beat one more man – Khairul from Malaysia – to secure the world champion title that means so much to the 30-year-old.
Make no mistake, Brady enters this final as the favourite.
But that’s a dangerous position to be in. Especially at the world championships – where so many results go against the grain and where archers often find an extra level when necessary.
Khairul has the role of underdog. It’s one he is historically accustomed to playing. But the world number 22 would have to do something incredible to pull this upset off.
The statistic that really illustrates the magic of Brady’s season so far is this: through three medal matches on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit, he has dropped just eight points in 30 arrows.
That averages out to a 701-point 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round, which would be a world record. So, in the most-important and highest-pressure matches, Brady is currently shooting better than anyone ever has during the more relaxed part of international competition.
Ellison lives for this moment.
The pick: Brady
Kang Chae Young (1)/Lei Chien-Ying (2)
Recurve women’s gold medal match
Unbeaten so far in 2019, Korean world number one Kang Chae Young was the de facto favourite before she shot an arrow in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Then she broke her own world record for the recurve women’s ranking round.
Kang is averaging 9.38 points an arrow to Lei’s 9.15 this season but what is more impressive is the world number one’s ability to win matches – not just score well in a vacuum.
The top seed at these championships put in an X in a quarterfinal shoot-off to survive Japan’s Tomomi Sugimoto and then laid a pair of 29s and a 30 on Michelle Kroppen to beat the semis.
She’ll need to shoot this kind of set against Chien-Ying, the second seed.
The archer from Chinese Taipei has been in impeccable form during eliminations at this tournament. Lei finished three of her four matches with perfect sets of 30 points.
In matchplay, it’s often the archer who finishes strongest that wins.
The pick: Chae Young
Ruman Shana (20)/Mauro Nespoli (6)
Recurve men’s bronze medal match
Nobody picked Bangladesh’s Shana to make the finals at the worlds but he did – and he nearly made it all the way, too.
He’s already won his country its first-ever quota spot to the Olympic Games. (Bangladesh had sent archers before but on universality tickets.) Can he win Bangladesh’s first world championship podium and international individual medal, too?
World number six Mauro Nespoli, also the sixth-seeded recurve man in ’s-Hertogenbosch, has not won an individual medal at the world championships so far in his career. He has won a lot of team medals.
The pick: Ruman
Michelle Kroppen (13)/Choi Misun (6)
Recurve women’s bronze medal match
If Kroppen wins, she will become the first German recurve archer to medal at the championships since Cornelia Pfohl took silver in Canada in 1997.
Choi Misun is a tough draw. The talented 22-year-old finished third at the worlds in Copenhagen four years ago.
At this event, they match up well. Kroppen has averaged 27.3 points per set during the championships to Choi’s 28. But through matchplay, the German archer has shot a total of 26 sets to her Korean opponent’s 12.
Michelle will have to match Misun early to prevent the world number 21 from running away with this.
The pick: Misun
Team gold medal matches
Recurve mixed team final: Korea/Netherlands – Sjef van den Berg and Gabriela Bayardo will shoot for a world championship title on home soil in front of a home crowd. If the adrenaline hits at the right moment, the Dutch audience could be celebrating more than a finals appearance.
Recurve men’s team final: China/India – Tarundeep Rai was in the Indian men’s team that finished second in Madrid in 2005. A podium is a fantastic achievement for this squad, now qualified for the Olympics, but a gold medal would be better.
Recurve women’s team final: Korea/Chinese Taipei – The premier match-up of recurve women’s teams – whenever they meet. Chinese Taipei has never had a recurve world title. Korea has won this world crown 13 of the last 20 times it has been contested.
The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.