Two out of four stages done, 2014 World Cup taking shape

We’re 50 percent of the way through this year’s Archery World Cup season. Shanghai and Medellin are complete – and Antalya is up next, before Wroclaw’s last stage and the big Final in the Olympic Capital, Lausanne.

Two stages means two opportunities to win valuable World Cup ranking points. Those who finished well in either China or Colombia can relax for the stretch, while most are staring at their last chance to stake a claim on a Lausanne qualification spot.

Here’s what we’ve learnt so far…

2014 Archery World Cup Ranking | Top threes, one stage complete Position Recurve men Recurve women Compound men Compound women 1 LEE Seungyun (KOR) Elena RICHTER (GER) Reo WILDE (USA) Erika JONES (USA) 2 Hideki KIKUCHI (JPN) JUNG Dasomi (KOR) Bridger DEATON (USA) Toja CERNE (SLO) 3 OH Jin Hyek (KOR) Aida ROMAN (MEX) Seb PEINEAU (FRA) CHOI Bomin (KOR)


Medellin: Biggest surprise? 

Daniel MUNOZ or Toja CERNE. Both picked up silver medals, in the compound men’s and compound women’s competitions respectively… and quite unexpectedly. 

Colombia’s MUNOZ had three World Cup appearances to his name before Medellin 2014, never finishing higher than the last 32. While CERNE, from Slovenia, recorded a fifth at Porec 2010 – her first ever stage – before not making it past the last 32 before Shanghai this year, where she lost to the eventual winner: Korea’s CHOI Bomin.

The compound men in Colombia have largely been an afterthought since the emergence of the nation’s reigning world champion compound women’s team. MUNOZ, who said he relaxed after winning his first two matches because he expected nothing more, is in prime position to rectify that if he holds position in the rankings and qualifies for the World Cup Final.

Toja is almost guaranteed a spot at Lausanne due to registering points at Shanghai as well as the Medellin silver. If she makes it, she’ll be the first Slovenian athlete to do so.

Seven things we didn’t know before Medellin

India has a recurve men’s ‘B Team’, and they might be better than the As… the second seeds in Medellin were 4-0 down to Korea in the gold medal match when they shot two straight 59-point sets to force a tiebreaker. How the new-look Korean recurve teams would work out. As it turns out, just fine: the men shot 10-10-10 in the above-mentioned gold-medal shoot-off against India and the women set a new world record in qualification. Germany’s recurve women are shooting well individually – after Elena RICHTER’s Shanghai gold, Lisa UNRUH won Medellin silver – but better as a team. They recovered from a 48 first set to beat a consistent China in the final, and shot a beautiful 59 on the way. Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Rodger WILLET Jr, in his return to the USA compound team, won his first-round match in a shoot-off after shooting a 147 – which would have clean beaten all but eight other archers that phase. He then knocked out top-ranked Frenchman PJ DELOCHE 149-148 and the only compounder to have won two World Cup Finals (Italy’s Sergio PAGNI) 145-144, before losing to dark horse Gerardo ALVARADO from Mexico in the quarterfinals. It was carnage on that side of the bracket. Toja CERNE was the lone Slovenian at the event so called on Colombian help for the finals. Maja MARCEN was her coach, a sensible choice since she used to shoot for Slovenia, and Sara LOPEZ pulled her arrows. An all-star supporting cast! LEE Seungyun beating OH Jin Hyek in the Belek 2013 World Championship final was no fluke. The young Korean beat his Olympic Champion teammate to recurve men’s Medellin gold as well, dropping just three of his nine arrows outside of the 10 ring in a straight-set drubbing. The USA compound men’s and women’s teams are still unbeaten outdoors in 2014.

Countdown to Rio

Brazil’s Marcus DALMEIDA and Sara NIKITIN didn’t win their gold medal match against Korea in the Medellin recurve mixed team final. But they shot some awesome arrows to get there.

After shocking the USA in the first round, Canada in the quarterfinals and holding on for a shoot-off win over Mexico in the semis – it’s safe to say that Brazil has arrived. (Marcus’ shoot-off arrow was a thing of beauty: under pressure, in front of a crowd of spectators on the eliminations field, he ploughed in a gold with his win and in shot.) 

It’s kicked off the countdown to Rio for us, knowing that Brazil might just have a serious medal contender at their home Games.

Race to Lausanne: on the bubble 

Strong finishes at both Antalya and Wroclaw could push anyone into Archery World Cup Final qualification contention – so, mathematically, no one’s out of the race to Lausanne just yet.

Having said that, the pressure to pick up points is high for these four athletes:

Sophie DODEMONT (FRA) – compound woman, 5pts (16th): Bronze and gold in the mixed team events at this year’s two stages so far mean she’ll likely be shooting in that Lausanne exhibition match, but individually she’s not quite living up to high expectations. Martin DAMSBO (DEN) – compound man, 5pts (16th): Reigning World Cup Final Champion DAMSBO didn’t pick up any points in Medellin after seeding ninth. Maja JAGER (DEN) – recurve woman, 12pts (12th): World Champion JAGER had a solid start in Shanghai, didn’t shoot in Medellin and has about half the points she’ll need to secure a Finals place. Atanu DAS (IND) – recurve man, 5pts (16th): His nation’s highest-ranked recurve man right now, DAS holds the hopes of a quick-to-judge Indian media in his hands. 

While two of the sport’s bigger names have mountains to climb:

Braden GELLENTHIEN (USA) – compound man, not ranked: The definition of consistency with five World Cup Final medals since 2007 (four silver, one gold), Braden’s got no points to his name in 2014… and sits behind three of his teammates. (Remember: a maximum of two athletes from each nation can qualify.) Tough task. Deepika KUMARI (IND) – recurve woman, not ranked: Archery’s most followed athlete on Facebook has had a monopoly on World Cup Final silver for the last three years. That looks likely to end in 2014. 

Storylines to watch… in Antalya

There is a noticeable number of younger athletes registered, and it’s probably because the Nanjing 2014 Games draw close. Teams are giving Youth Olympic hopefuls some valuable international experience before China. Each year, Antalya attracts the most competitors out of any of the Archery World Cup stages. That means it’s the hardest event to win. The most reliable yearly litmus test of who’s shooting well. Right now, Deepika KUMARI and Jayanta TALUKDAR are on India’s team sheet – but while neither of them is shooting their best right now, the nation did well with a different line-up in Medellin. The participant list is not locked in yet, so keep an eye on whether it changes.

Competition at the third 2014 Archery World Cup stage in Antalya starts on Wednesday 11 June. Check event news, and visit World Archery’s Facebook page and @worldarchery on Twitter for coverage.