An San delivers best qualifying round since Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Korea dominated recurve qualification at the fourth stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin, Colombia on Wednesday as Olympic Champion An San and young star Kim Je Deok secured the number one individual seeds.
Five of the six highest scores were shot by archers from the Asian nation.
“I didn’t expect to be first. It’s my first time being first in the qualification on this year’s World Cup,” said An San.
The 22-year-old has a large support base back in Korea following her three gold medals – individual, mixed and women’s team – at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I do have some pressure from the fans, but it can be also half pressure and half helpful for me,” she said. “During the matches, I try not to think about it. Most of my fans don’t really care about my results, they care if I’m doing well and if I’m happy, so I’m very happy and thankful to have my fans.”
An San’s 677 points for the 72-arrow 70-metre qualifying round was her best score since the 680 – and Olympic record – she delivered at Tokyo 2020. It beats her 646 at last year’s Hyundai World Archery Championships in Yankton, her 640 at stage two of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Gwangju and the 674-point round she shot last month at stage three in Paris.
She looked under threat from Alejandra Valencia in the closing ends of the session – but the Mexican archer struggled in the last volley and dropped away, down to seventh.
An San’s Korean teammate – and the partner with whom she won mixed team gold at Tokyo 2020 – Kim Je Deok seeded top in compound men’s qualification with 687, to finish ahead of his own teammate Kim Woojin and reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion Jack Williams.
“I didn't expect being first in qualification,” said the 18-year-old. “It was very tight, but I didn't think about being first. I just made my own pace and then followed it. In the first half, there was not much wind. But in the second half, there was wind and also a change of wind. It was a little bit hard for me, but I tried to adjust it and then the result was quite good for me.”
The two Kims were neck-and-neck over the back 36 arrows. With the wind picking up, new father Woojin laughed at each arrow that missed the middle.
The USA’s Jack Williams needs a win in Medellin to return to the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final and have a chance at defending his circuit title. Booking the third seed with a season-best 679 is a good start to that campaign in Colombia.
“A third place finish is good. I was hoping for a 680 but the weather today was a little off on the second half,” he said.
“The first half was really good and then something happened in the second half. You can see it all the way across, some sort of wind; 679 being third is pretty low for a World Cup but everybody on the field was having a problem on the second half.”
“My shots were feeling good so that's all you could go with. I’ve been building every tournament this year. It’s been improvements all the way and it just shows throughout the year in my progress.”
Competition in Medellin continues on Thursday morning with recurve team eliminations and bronze medal matches.
Top seeds: Recurve men
- Kim Je Deok, Korea – 687 (8 circuit ranking points)
- Kim Woojin, Korea – 684 (7 points)
- Jack Williams, USA – 679 (6 points)
- Marcus D'Almeida, Brazil – 677 (5 points)
- Mete Gazoz, Turkey – 676 (4 points)
- Nicholas D'Amour, Virgin Islands US – 675 35 10s (3 points)
- Florian Unruh, Germany – 675 34 10s (3 points)
- Brady Ellison, USA – 675 33 10s (3 points)
Top seeds: Recurve women
- An San, Korea – 677 (8 circuit ranking points)
- Lee Gahyun, Korea – 668 (7 points)
- Kang Chae Young, Korea – 665 31 10s (6 points)
- Katharina Bauer, Germany – 665 28 10s (6 points)
- Choi Misun, Korea – 665 27 10s (6 points)
- Bryony Pitman, Great Britain – 664 (3 points)
- Alejandra Valencia, Mexico – 663 34 10s (2 points)
- Gaby Schloesser, Netherlands – 663 30 10s (2 points)