Top 10: Biggest medal winners of the last outdoor season
Across the major archery events in 2017, including the international circuit and the Hyundai World Archery Championships, there wasn’t one dominant name.
There were different winners at each and every stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup except for Sarah Sonnichsen, who took golds in both Antalya and Berlin – and no athlete managed to take champion titles at both of the two biggest tournaments: the worlds and the World Cup Final.
With the 2018 season just around the corner, here’s an individual medal-count ranking of the most successful archers of last season. (We’ve taken into account world cup, worlds and World Games medals.)
10. BRADEN GELLENTHIEN, USA
(1 gold, 3 bronze)
Constantly in-and-around the medals at the major competitions, Braden took bronzes in Antalya and Berlin and won the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Rome, defeating number one seed Stephan Hansen.
9. STEVE WIJLER, Netherlands
(1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
The first-year rookie from the Netherlands caused a massive upset at the opening stage of the year in Shanghai, by not only beating three-time Olympic champion Im Dong Hyun in the semis but also then-World Archery Champion Kim Woojin to gold.
Taken aback by his victory, Wijler said: “I definitely didn't expect to win, I was coming here thinking that if I made the top 32 or something then it would be okay.”
The young star also ended the year on a high, achieving a bronze medal at the worlds in Mexico, only losing out to the eventual champion.
8. CHANG HYE JIN, Korea
(1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
Although major titles eluded the Olympic Champion, Chang still had a scintillating season. She finished off her win at the tour stop in Salt Lake City with a set of a perfect 30 points – and finished Rome in third place.
Despite the disappointment of her loss to Perova in the final of the Hyundai World Archery Championships, Chang was still part of the Korean women’s that reclaimed that world title from Russia.
7. KI BO BAE, Korea
It was a year of mixed success for the recurve superstar, who missed out on selection for the worlds.
She had a successful start to the year, winning the first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai. Despite not finishing in a medal position at any of the other stages, she won her third Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Rome – defending her crown by beating Ksenia Perova, 7-1.
“My family is here to support me so its great give them a reward,” she said – and then married her fiance in November.
6. IM DONG HYUN, Korea
(2 gold, 2 bronze)
After a few years in the second team, the longest-standing member of the Korean squad stepped back into the spotlight.
Winning his second World Archery Champion crown in Mexico City, Im outlasted up-and-coming Wei Chun Heng in a back-and-forth final.
“I’m just so happy right now! It’s been 10 years [since my first title], but there's no way to describe this feeling. I’m just so happy and I think that’s it,” he said.
5. KSENIA PEROVA, russia
(2 gold, 1 silver)
Ksenia Perova had arguably her most successful year since joining the international circuit in 2005. She took a stage gold in Antalya, before finishing runner up in Rome to Ki Bo Bae.
Her biggest moment, however, came at the Hyundai World Archery Championships, where Ksenia became the first Russian archer to win the recurve women’s event since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Describing the win, the champion said: “I've been in archery for 18 years and it’s the first individual world championships I’ve won.”
=3. SARAH SONNICHSEN, Denmark
(2 gold, 2 silver)
Last season was certainly Sonnichsen’s most successful in the sport.
The 23-year-old was the most consistent athlete on the international tour, winning two silvers and two gold medals – and securing the number one spot in the world ranking, and the season-long Prize for Precision.
“When you win it, it means you’ve been shooting good the entire season,” she said. “It’s a really amazing feeling when you're the best in the world.”
Her only disappointment will be a failure to win either the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final or the Hyundai World Archery Championships to cap off the year.
=3. KIM WOOJIN, Korea
(2 gold, 2 silver)
In the final at the three stages he attended and the Final of the Hyundai Archery World Cup, Woojin won two silver and two gold medals.
In Rome, he delivered some of the finest shooting of his career.
The Korean breezed past the competition, only dropping one set, including a 6-0 win over Brady Ellison, and finished the final with three perfect 10s.
“It’s been a while since I had an opportunity to shoot in a World Cup final and as soon as I shot that [last] arrow, it felt electrifying,” said Kim.
He wasn’t able to defend his world crown in Mexico City, however, losing to Wei Chun-Heng in the quarterfinals.
2. STEPHAN HANSEN, Denmark
(2 gold, 4 silver)
On pure numbers, Hansen was the most successful archer of 2017, bagging six individual medals.
He finished in medal positions in all but one stage of the tour, winning the Shanghai event, and coming second in the Final, losing out only to Braden Gellenthien.
Hansen also put in fantastic performances in Mexico City, qualifying as first seed and coming within a single arrow of defending his world title, losing the tiebreaker for gold to Sebastien Peineau.
“That final arrow was fine, it was a 10 and I cannot do more than a 10 right now, he shot okay and today was just not my day,” said the Dane.
Hansen was still prolific, winning the Longines Prize for Precision for the year – and cementing his world number one ranking.
1. SARA LOPEZ, Colombia
(3 gold, 2 bronze)
Although 22-year-old Sara lost her world number one ranking, setting the record at 1033 consecutive days in the process in the summer, she did take two huge wins in 2017.
Lopez won her first World Games in Wroclaw – and her third Hyundai Archery World Cup title in Rome.
The rivalry between the Colombian archer and Sarah Sonnichsen heated up – although neither won the world championships, where Lopez was upset by Lily Paonam in the second round.
“Even if I accomplished most of the goals I had this year, this one just slipped away,” said Sara. “But it’s good that it happened like this - because it gives me the chance to keep fighting for something.”
The first event of the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup tour starts on 23 April in Shanghai, China.