Kim Hyeonjong bags three gold medals as Korea totals seven in Madrid recurve finals

25 August 2019
Madrid, Spain
The Korean team topped the medal table at the 2019 world youth championships.

Korea stole the show during recurve finals on Sunday at the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid, following up three team gold medals during the morning’s cadet finals with four senior world titles.

The team was unbeaten in its 11 medal matches. There was a total of 14 shot throughout the day.

Six of those victories came during the junior (under 21) session in the afternoon. Kim Hyeonjong was the star of the show, collecting three gold medals in the recurve junior men’s team, mixed team and individual events.

“I’m glad to get three gold medals. I’m so happy,” said Kim. “It seems impossible to reach seven gold medals but we've worked hard for that. And we believe in each other in our team. It’s all combined with good shooting.”

The Korean recurve junior women’s team was also crowned world champion.

Two years ago in Rosario, Korea collected four recurve gold medals. In Madrid, they almost doubled that result. With seven gold medals and a total of 11 podium finishes in total, the Korean team placed a clear top of the medal standings.

Hyeonjong’s international debut was supreme.

Alone, he would have placed third in the medal standings behind Korea and the United States. His last gold medal in Madrid brought the individual world title.

The Korean junior beat Jack Williams of the USA, 6-4, in the recurve junior men’s final.

It was a thrilling and intense duel. Williams drew ahead after the first set but Kim clawed his way back and then took the lead, 4-2. 

Jack, then, fought back, tying the match after winning the fourth set.

Windy conditions set the stage and a challenge for the two last remaining junior men in the competition ahead of their last three arrows.

Williams opened with a seven. His face drew a picture of disappointment. Kim shot a nine to go ahead.

The Korean archer still had a one-point lead with one arrow to shoot.

When Jack shot an eight to finish, Hyeonjong needed just an eight to win. He put his last arrow in the 10-ring and raised his arms to celebrate.

“Under a strong wind, the most important thing is to make a decision. My opponent showed good performance but I had to stay focused,” said Kim.

The 19-year-old was already familiar with the conditions in the arena after shooting in the two previous finals.

“I was able to adjust my bow and predict the wind direction,” he said. “I followed our coach’s instructions with aiming. That was the most important to win the gold.”

Kim was also part of the winning men’s team and the winning mixed team. He, Kim Pil-Joong and Lee Jinyong beat Japan, 5-3, in the recurve junior men team final.

Paired with Jang Minhee, Kim defeated France in the mixed team final, 6-2. The teams were tied after two sets before the Koreans pulled away.

The Korean archers shot at their best in the last two sets, totalling 38 and 39 points.

“In the men’s team match, there was a lot of arrows. I was more relieved, I wasn’t so nervous before we started. We had more arrows to shoot,” he said. “And in the mixed team, since there are fewer arrows, I felt I had to focus more.”

Jang Minhee leaves Madrid with two gold medals.

She was alongside Cha Songhui and Lee Gahyun on the team that brought the first Korean win of the afternoon. They beat Chinese Taipei, 5-1, in the recurve junior women’s team final. 

“As you can see, the match went easier than we expected. I’m really happy to be here, in Madrid, to participate in international competition,” said Jang. 

Their superiority in the first two sets was undisputed.

Cha, Jang and Lee scored 57 followed by 51; the archers of Chinese Taipei, 46 and 48. In the third (and the last) set, both teams got a point for a tie, enough for the Koreans to win.

“I could understand the direction of the blowing wind. Also, our coach directed us, told us, ‘you can shoot it into this point,’ so that I could focus on aiming points. And we easily went through the match,” said Lee.

Nine countries took gold medals and 17 climbed the podium at the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships.

Korea led the medal table with seven golds and 11 medals in total. The USA was second with four gold medals and seven in total, followed by Mexico in third.

India, Russia, Chinese Taipei, Norway, Colombia and Croatia were the other countries that had athletes top the podium.

The 2019 World Archery Youth Championships takes place on 19-25 August in Madrid, Spain.