Athens Olympian Barnes’ Bangkok gold marks milestone in comeback campaign

14 March 2020
Bangkok, Thailand
It is likely the last international event that will take place for a while.

Dave Barnes, Loc Thi Dao, Anton Bulaev and Loh Tse Chieh took the individual titles as Russia topped the medal table at the first leg of the 2020 Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand.

It’s a significant win for Barnes, who’s just been named to his second Olympics in Tokyo after a 16-year break from the Games.

“I’ve been back on the scene for about two seasons now and I have struggled with some of my individual matchplay results so hopefully this is the breakthrough I need to let the good times keep rolling,” he said.

Seeded second in Bangkok, the 34-year-old defeated top-ranked Galsan Bazarzhapov in a five-set final.

The Australian recurve men also beat Malaysia in the team bronze medal match. Bangkok medallists Barnes, Taylor Worth and Ryan Tyack will be the same line-up that competes in Japan this summer.

“It sounds like we’re up for a bit of a year of the unknown,” said Dave. “We just really need to make the most of all the training and competition opportunities that we’ve got. We’re really excited for the journey ahead. Bring on Tokyo.”

This is Barnes’ biggest individual achievement since returning to the sport two years ago. He still has some way to reach the heights of the bronze he took at the World Archery Championships in 2003 – but it’s an encouraging milestone.

Bangkok is likely to be the last international archery event to take place for a couple of months as world sport takes a break during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The competition was not unaffected.

Participation was much lower than usual – just 84 athletes from 12 countries took part – and the finals schedule was shortened after the Kazakhstan team was recalled the night before the medal matches.

It meant Singapore’s Loh Tse Chieh took an automatic gold in the compound women’s event.

But that title was by no means undeserved. The 25-year-old upset top seed Adel Zhexenbinova in the semifinals, 143-142. She was due to face second-ranked Diana Makarchuk in the gold medal match.

Vietnam was represented in two individual finals.

Loc Thi Dao was impressive as she defeated 2017 World Archery Champion Ksenia Perova of Russia, 7-3, to the recurve women’s title.

While Russian reigning European and Universiade Champion Anton Bulaev completed a dominant week in the compound men’s competition with one last win over Thach Phi Hung.

Bulaev shot 146 points in the 15-arrow 50-metre final, Thach 140.

“I performed well and achieved all the goals I set here in Bangkok,” said the world number nine. “I feel good. I did my job. I’m going to build on this and improve. The main event this year is the European Championships, which I hope to win again, and I also want to get to the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.”

The Europeans are scheduled to take place in Antalya, Turkey in May.

Russia topped the medal table in Bangkok with four golds and nine podium finishes; Vietnam was second with three gold and eight medals in total.

Japan, Australia, Singapore, Kazakhstan and Thailand also collected silverware.

The second and third legs of the 2020 Asia Cup are scheduled for Gwangju, Korea in June and Shenzhen, China in October. That schedule is subject to change according to the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The first leg of the 2020 Asia Cup took place on 9-14 March in Bangkok, Thailand.