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Leipzig: 47 Archers above 1300 Points in the Recurve Men Qualifications

Tuesday was a cold, rainy day in Leipzig, but the Recurve Men archers shot such a high level qualification round that the sun showed up at the end. Today 47 archers broke the 1300-point barrier and the team members needed to achieve an average of 1295 points each to qualify their team for the next round. The Koreans even tied the World Record for a FITA Round despite the weather conditions, shooting an amazing score of 4074 points!
The Korean, Lee, took a comfortable advantage after the first distance, clinching the 90 metres with 326 points. He was leading by 5 points over three archers ranking with the same score: Godfrey (GBR), Im (KOR) and Sulaiman (MAS) tied on 321. The Malaysian, currently 68th in the World Ranking and ranked 39th at the last World Championships in 2005 in Madrid, was the unexpected archer at that point.

Some slight changes took place at the top during the second and Olympic distance of 70m: the two Koreans, Lee and Im with 672 and 666 points respectively, were leading at the half-way mark. These two archers opened an important gap on their pursuers, no. 3 and 4 seeds Terry (GBR) and Petersson (SWE) following on 657 points each. The Malaysian Sulaiman lost a few places and was 7th at that time. Ruban from Ukraine leapt forward, shooting the 3rd best score of the distance and temporarily ranked 8th.

The two Koreans reinforced their leadership at the third distance (50m). Lee was 3 points ahead of his team-mate, Im, with 1011 vs. 1008. The best score of the distance, however, came from the archer from Chinese Taipei, Kuo, with 345 points. This placed him 3rd with the same score as the 4th ranked athlete, Japanese Furukawa (991). Very close behind them was Terry (GBR) on 990 points. At this point, the Swedish archer, Petersson, lost a couple of places at 50m: with only the 22nd best score of the distance, he fell to 6th place.

The Recurve Men qualifications ended with two Koreans in the lead: Lee finally finished 1st with a total of 1369 points, just ahead of his countryman, Im, on 1366 points. Their advantage over no. 3 seed Kuo of Chinese Taipei was 22 points for Lee and 19 for Im respectively. The 4th seeded archer Terry (GBR) finished 1 point behind Kuo. A fourth Asian archer, Japanese Furukawa (1343), was ranked in the top 5. The final archer who qualified for the elimination rounds on Thursday was decided by a shoot-off after Lipste of Latvia and Cordero from the Philippines were tied at 1230 points after their 144 arrows. In the shoot-off the Filipino archer shot a perfect 10 to qualify for the 1/64 eliminations.

There was great participation in the team competition with 50 countries registered! This was not surprising as this event is the first and main qualifier for the 2008 Olympics, with top 8 teams of the final ranking going to China next year.

After the first distance, Korea was, unsurprisingly, leading on 963 points, followed by Great Britain (950) and Australia (931) in 2nd and 3rd places. With 50 teams registered, the World Championships cut (top 16 teams reaching the 1/8 eliminations) promised to be difficult to reach today.

At 70m, the Koreans (1990), increased their advantage to 52 points (!) over the British in 2nd place on 1938. The Australians, still 3rd on 1922, were now being greatly threatened by the Italians (1918). The 16th position was held by Sweden at that point on 1877 points.

The 50m distance was disappointing for the Australians who lost two places and were ranked 5th on 2907 points with 36 arrows to go. Two countries, namely Italy (2918) and Chinese Taipei (2912) moving up to 3rd and 4th place respectively, benefited from this. Korea remained first surpassing the 3000 barrier with 3004 points, well ahead of second-placed Great Britain on 2934. The unexpected result in the team event at that point was that of Canada, ranked 9th with a score of 2897. This put some of the usually well ranked nations such as the Netherlands, France, Turkey and Belarus in danger of not qualifying for the next round.

The qualifications ended with the Koreans equalling the World Record for a FITA Round (144 arrows) despite the cold weather conditions! They shot an amazing score of 4074 points. Im, already in the team that set the World Record four years ago at the World Championships in New York City, was then shooting with two other team-mates.

The team ranked 2nd behind Korea in the qualifications today in Leipzig was Great Britain with 3992 points. Italy, home of Olympic Champion Galiazzo, followed in 3rd place achieving a total of 3974. The surprise of the day was team Canada managing to keep their 9th position with 3943 points, only 2 points better than their neighbour, the USA. Russia took the final qualifying spot over the Netherlands by just three points (3886 vs. 3883). France, with the young Aubert injured, finished with a disappointing 18th rank (3875) in these qualifications.

The competition level today proved a very high level with 47 archers breaking the 1300-point barrier. Also worth mentioning is that each team member needed to shoot an average of 1295 points to qualify their team for the 1/8 elimination rounds on Thursday. Just unbelievable!

The competition will continue tomorrow with the individual eliminations for both the Compound Men and Women categories.

Ludivine Maitre Wicki
FITA Communication