First Rio 2016 continental qualifier adds 5 more nations from Asia

The first of five continental qualification tournaments to the Olympic Games, the Asian Archery Championships in Bangkok awarded six new nations places to Rio 2016.

Only countries without spots won in each division at the primary qualifier, the 2015 worlds, could compete in the Bangkok qualification tournament. Each nation could win a maximum of one men’s and one women’s place and three were available in each competition.

Malaysia, a surprise omission from qualification in Copenhagen, ensured it had Rio representation when Khairul Anuar Mohamad and Haziq Kamaruddin made the last four of the recurve men’s quota tournament. Joining the first and third seeded athletes in the secondary event in the last four, the archers ranked second and fourth, Kazakhstan’s Sultan Duzelbayev and Gantugs Jantsan, from Mongolia.

With Malaysia qualifying the maximum one athlete, Kazakhstan and Mongolia took the remaining two spots.

Youth Olympic mixed team gold medallist Luis Gabriel Moreno, from the Philippines, and DPR Korea athlete Jon Chol missed out, both losing 6-4 to Duzelbayev and Jon, respectively, in the quarterfinals.

DPR Korea did secure a women’s place, though. Kang Un Ju surrendered few set points through the brackets, before coming first in her secondary tournament with a 6-2 win over Paralympic Champion Zahra Nemati, who took a place for Iran with the silver.

Nemati, who competed on the Archery World Cup circuit but not at the World Archery Para Championships in 2015, looks determined to represent her country at the Olympics.

Luiza Saidiyeva secured the third recurve women’s quota place for Kazakhstan.

She beat Thi Dao Loc from Vietnam to the last remaining spot, 7-1.

Asia Continental Qualifer Places

  • Iran  – 1 (recurve woman)
  • Kazakhstan – 2 (1 recurve man, 1 recurve woman)
  • Malaysia  – 1 (recurve man)
  • Mongolia  – 1 (recurve man)
  • DPR Korea  – 1 (recurve woman)

Most of the competition week in Bangkok was dedicated to the 2015 Asian Championships. The recurve competition there was dominated by Korea, already with a full six-athlete quota for Rio 2016 since the summer’s World Archery Championships.

Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games winner Lee Woo Seok beat Lee Seungyun, 2013 World Archery Champion, in a shoot-off to the men’s Asian title. Three-time Olympian Im Dong Hyun took third. Chang Hye Jin won women’s gold, 7-1, over Hong Sunam, with Lee Tuk Young beating China’s Cao Hui to bronze. Both podiums were Korean clean sweeps.

India won both compound events. Rajat Chauhan won a shoot-off for the men’s final, after shooting a perfect 150-match in the semis, and Jyothi Vennam took women’s gold.

Prior to the championships, 33 athletes from 11 countries attended a training camp run by World Archery Asia and supported by Olympic Solidarity.