Japanese team sets out selection process for home Olympics in Tokyo

12 November 2019
Tokyo, Japan
Sixteen men and 16 women will compete for the six places on the Olympic squad.

As the host of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Japan receives a full six-athlete quota for the archery competitions. The names of the archers that will fill those places will be decided over the next six months.

Japan has had three individual medallists – all men – in its Olympic archery history.

Takaharu Furukawa, Hiroshi Yamamoto and Hiroshi Michanaga have all finished runner-up at the Games, with Yamamoto taking a bronze, too.

The Japanese recurve women also came third at London 2012.  

The trials for Japan’s Olympic archery team begin this week. Thirty-two athletes – 16 men and 16 women – have been selected to start the three-part process.

Selection dates

(Dates subject to change.)

Phase one (November 2019)

  • 13 November: 2 x 70-metre rounds (top 12 archers advance)
  • 14 November: 2 x 70-metre rounds (top eight advance)

Phase two (March 2020)

  • 21 March: 2 x 70-metre rounds (top six advance)
  • 22 March: 2 x 70-metre rounds (top five advance)

Phase three (April 2020)

  • 11 April: 1 x 70-metre round
  • 12 April: 1 x 70-metre round (top three selected)

Format

The Japanese team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be selected purely on 70-metre ranking round scores.

It’s an unusual approach in the World Cup-era of international archery because, while qualification is still important, events are won in matchplay. The ability to shoot head-to-heads and stay calm under the pressure of tiebreaks is often what separates winners from the rest.

Japan is banking on top performers across the three-phase selection process translating strong qualifying scores into Olympic-winning matches.

The contenders

The institution or team the archer represents is provided.

recurve men

Recurve women

Nationals

The 16 men and 16 women that will begin the Olympic selection process were named just after the 61st All-Japan National Championships on 25-27 October in Kakegawa. Athletes submitted their best scores from the season and had to make the last 32 at the nationals to be considered.

(World championship team member Tomoaki Kuraya and London 2012 team medallist Kaori Kawanaka​ didn’t make the cut.)

And while the championships themselves won’t have an impact on the outcome of the team, they could be an indicator of who we can expect to take to the field for Japan next summer.

Yu Irie beat Mao Watanabe to recurve women’s gold at the event. Both Yu and Mao are in high school. The recurve men’s national title went to Yuki Kawata, a former student of two-time Japanese Olympic medallist Hiroshi Yamamoto.

Fifty-seven-year-old Yamamoto, who took bronze at Los Angeles 1984 and silver at Athens 2004, is also one of the 16 men competing for one of Japan’s three Olympic places.

(Although, perhaps it would be more poetic if he returned for Paris 2024. That would make three Olympic appearances, each 20 years apart!)

Whoever makes the Japanese team for Tokyo 2020, we’ll see them compete at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stages in Shanghai and Berlin – before that once-in-a-life-time opportunity of a home Olympic Games.

Thanks to George Tekmitchov, Yoshi Komatsu and Phil Knall.

The archery competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin on 24 July.

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