12 top contenders at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships
The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands will award both world titles and 56 recurve quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. These championships are important – for all of the 600 athletes competing.
Among them, some of the most talented archers the sport has ever seen. Plenty rounding into form on the recent Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit – and many more waiting in the wings, looking to dethrone the favourites at the biggest event of the year.
Based on rankings and results so far this season, here are some of the top contenders for the world champion titles in ’s-Hertogenbosch.
Defending champion: Im Dong Hyun (not returning)
1. BRADY ELLISON, USA
There’s no doubt Brady is back. I mean, he never really left, right? The three-time Olympic medallist is probably having his best season to date. Two out of three individual gold medals on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit – plus a bronze at the other makes him the man to beat.
He’s the world number three, has an official international personal best of 697 – only three off the world record – and is shooting an average of 9.59 points an arrow in competition this season.
Brady doesn’t have this world outdoor title. He hasn’t been shy about wanting it.
2. LEE WOO SEOK, Korea
Korea’s talented and youngest team member broke onto the circuit when he podiumed at every single event that he competed at in 2018. His sophomore season is already looking similar after securing silver in Medellin and gold in Shanghai, the two Hyundai World Archery Cup stages he will shoot at in 2019.
Woo Seok even beat teammate Kim Woojin to gold in Shanghai after the latter firmly joked he wouldn’t. His trio of goals have been set for some time now: secure the places for Tokyo, make the team for the Games and, of course, win the worlds. Then get to Olympic Champion level.
“I feel about 60%,” he said earlier this year. “I will try my very best at the world championships and I’m looking forward to showing you how well I can perform.”
3. SJEF VAN DEN BERG, Netherlands
Dutch archer Sjef van den Berg is well-known in his home country. He finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 and has been part of a select group with Ellison, Lee and Kim that has finished in the top five at each of the first three stages of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup.
These are his home world championships. He’s coming into his own as an athlete and a person – and it’s time for Sjef to take his spot on the world podium. What better place to do so than at home?
Defending champion: Ksenia Perova
1. KANG CHAE YOUNG, Korea
World number one Kang Chae Young has been unstoppable this season: five gold medals in individual, team and mixed team events on the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup stages in Medellin and Shanghai – including two individual wins.
Kang won both of those two gold medal matches easily, in straight sets, having not had any of her competitors come close to her level at the start of this season.
2. TAN YA-TING, Chinese Taipei
World number two Tan Ya-Ting is one of the most consistent archers of this decade. Across eleven international seasons, she has only finished outside the top 10 six times, and all of those in 17th. There hasn’t been a single season where she hasn’t medalled.
The Olympic team medallist at Rio 2016 won bronze at the last world championships. It’s time for Tan to put everything together and win her first international event.
3. SUGIMOTO TOMOMI, Japan
Behind Kang, Tomomi has been the most consistent recurve woman so far this season. The world number eight has one bronze and one silver medal on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit so far – and with the next Olympic Games headed to Japan, this is an opportunity to validate her intentions.
Defending champion: Seb Peineau
1. MIKE SCHLOESSER, Netherlands
Mister Perfect won the worlds in 2013 and is still the number one ranked archer in the world in 2019. He’s shooting 9.93 points per arrow in matchplay this season – and he’s at home, in front of a crowd that wants to see him win.
2. BRADEN GELLENTHIEN, USA
World number two Braden Gellenthien came third at the last Hyundai World Archery Championships in Mexico City in 2017 – and won the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final that same year.
He’s had three individual podiums at the worlds in his career. Never gold. He’s all-in for the championship.
3. KRIS SCHAFF, USA
While Stephan Hansen is third in the world rankings, we haven’t seen the Dane perform at a world-class level so far this season – nor defending champion Seb Peineau.
Kris Schaff won the Hyundai Archery World Cup in 2018. He may have had a slow start to this season but, after making the final in Antalya, looks to be rounding into form at the right time.
Defending champion: Song Yun Soo (not returning)
1. Sara Lopez, Colombia
World number one Sara Lopez is a two-time world team champion. She has won four Hyundai Archery World Cup Finals and holds three individual world records. But she’s not been a world champion.
Sara finished 2018 unbeaten in individual international competition and started 2019 exactly the same way at stage one of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin. She lost in the third round in Antalya – which might have been the best thing. She comes to ’s-Hertogenbosch fresh – and hungry.
2. Alexis Ruiz, USA
Nineteen-year-old Alexis Ruiz has won a medal at each of her first three senior international events – the three stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup held so far in 2019.
The World Archery Youth Champion in 2017 has successfully made the leap to the big league – and has already proven her ability against world-class competition. At these world championships, she’ll need to prove she can hold her nerve with a career-defining title on the line.
This Korean archer had a one-shot opportunity to bag a space at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in 2019 – and she took it. (The Korean compound team will only travel to the Shanghai stage this season.) She’s fearless and confident and ready to come out on top.
“The main goal this year is to win the world championships and, to be honest, I’d really like the individual title,” she said in Shanghai. “I have succeeded with my team at many other events and we will probably keep doing so, but I don’t have any individual gold or silver at the worlds, and I want to do it.”
The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.