World Champion Woojin takes test event title in Rio

“It was so good! Sjef shot great, too, and he made it very exciting. Sjef was my motivation to win,” said Korea’s Kim Woojin after an intense gold medal match. “I knew that I needed to stay calm because if lost my control, I was going to lose the match.”

The winner of the Turin 2011 and Copenhagen 2015 World Archery Championships was clinical at the Aquece Rio International Archery Challenge.

He started the gold medal final with a 29-point set, matched by Sjef van den Berg, but while his Dutch opponent’s scores wavered when Sjef put an off-course eight, Woojin kept drilling the middle. His second set was a 29, then his third, too. Sjef had a 27, then 29 points.

The Dutchman said the wind hit him “right behind the pin” on the arrow that let him down: “I was aiming off and I just couldn’t correct it.”

Van den Berg rallied, but even when he took the fight to the 23-year-old Korean, shooting a perfect 30 in the fourth, Kim Woojin matched him, surrendering just a third single set point. At 5-3, Kim Woojin shot his fourth 10-10-9 to take the fifth and last set of the match by a point, and gold at the test event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

With the silver medal, Sjef was far from disappointed.

“I don’t feel bad about losing, and I feel like I won silver again,” said Sjef, referring to the second place he won at the first European Games in Baku. “Having the chance to interact with the Brazilian culture and get a bit used to the weather, these are also things that will definitely help with our training for 2016.”

Korea had a second athlete on the recurve men’s podium. Ku Bonchan beat India’s Jayanta Talukdar to bronze.

Bonchan had three wayward arrows, putting two into the eight in the first set and another in the fourth. His other series were much, much better. A pair of perfect 30s put him 4-2 ahead after three, and a clean 29 – with the match on the line – secured the last set, and the match, by a point.

Fourth-place finisher Jayanta, who knocked out hometown hero Marcus D’Almedia earlier in the competition, admitted to being extremely nervous for the final: “I had to keep my breathing steady and relax.”

With both tight medal finals running the full-five sets, the performances in Rio’s carnival stadium were at the height of international competition standard. Centre stage in the Sambódromo at the Aquece Rio Olympic test event, though, belonged to the insurmountable Kim Woojin.

“I’m looking forward to a better performance next year,” Woojin said. “I know the venue and what it feels like, so it should be even better.”

That, for the two-time World Archery Champion’s opponents, sounds like a scary prospect.