Two-athlete team events throw up surprise results in Universiade eliminations

Seven different countries will be represented across the six team and mixed team gold medal matches at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Napoli, Italy as the unique two-athlete team competition produced a raft of surprise results.

Shock winners emerged early as Switzerland upset the recurve men’s top seed, Korea, in the first round.

Florian and Adrian Faber lost the first set to Lee Woo Seok and Nam Yubin, 35-38, but drew level after the second, 38-37. A pair of 36-point sets was enough to beat the Korean pair’s 36 and 35.

“We always believed in our strength and I guess today was one of those days. We had really lots of fun and it means a lot for us that all the work we put in is showing on the field,” said Florian. “This new event was amazing. It also made it special that it was a brother thing.”

The Swiss team would eventually lose to Russia in the semifinals but their results were indicative of a competition that did not go to form.

This Universiade’s two-athlete team events were introduced to allow more nations to participate. The format mirrors that of the mixed team. Team results from Napoli will not count for the world ranking.

“It was different from the normal team. The whole thing was more calming and free because you had more space,” said Florian. “I also think it can be easier for smaller countries to get competitive. See us!”

No recurve men’s team from Switzerland has ever made a medal match at an international event before.

It’s a well-known adage that a team is only as strong as its weakest member, usually the third member in an archery squad. This two-athlete format means smaller nations need to find one less competitive archer from the student ranks to build a contender.

Korea’s recurve women’s team – Kang Chae Young and Choi Misun – and compound women’s team were predictably strong.

But the Korean recurve mixed team, compound men’s team and compound mixed team all suffered upsets as well. The results will show a sharp drop in titles for the world-leading squad after taking nine of the 10 available gold medals at the last Universaide in 2017.

Women’s world number one Kang Chae Young and men’s number two Lee Woo Seok were caught out in a poor quarterfinal. The presumptive favourites shot sets of 34, 33 and 37 points and lost to Ukraine, 5-1.

Reigning world champion compound pair Kim Jongho and So Chaewon were consistently the highest scorers during the eliminations. They shot a new Universiade record, shooting 159 out of a possible 160 points in the second round.

But their 16-arrow match total dipped to an event-low of 156 points in the semifinals. Chinese Taipei’s Chen Yi-Hsuan and Chen Chieh-Lun matched the Korean duo’s score, shooting a third consecutive match of 156, and then won the tiebreak.

Both Korea and Chinese Taipei shot perfect 20-point shoot-offs but the Taipei team had an arrow closer to the middle.

Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Iran, Mexico, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA will all contest a bronze or gold medal in at least one team event at the 2019 Universiade.

Team finals at Napoli 2019

  • Recurve men: Russia/Chinese Taipei
  • Recurve women: Korea/Russia
  • Recurve mixed: Japan/Chinese Taipei
  • Compound men: Iran/Turkey
  • Compound women: Korea/Turkey
  • Compound mixed: Chinese Taipei/Estonia

The archery competitions at the 2019 Summer Universiade take place on 8-13 July in Napoli, Italy.