Moscow 2019 competition preview #3: Recurve men

It is still 2019 and it is still the year of Brady Ellison’s renaissance. Forget that dominant two-year period in 2010 and 2011 where the then-youngster won almost everything, including two Hyundai Archery World Cup Finals, this is Brady in his prime.

Thirty years of age and world champion, world number one and world record holder, Ellison’s only challenge is to keep this level until the Olympics hit next summer.

And, perhaps, winning a record fifth title at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final doesn’t really matter to Brady… but that’s doubtful. The three-time Olympic medallist plays to win. Every time.

And he’s the man to beat in Moscow.

Factsheet #3: Recurve men

  • Number of athletes: 8
  • Number of nations: 6
  • Defending champion: Kim Woojin, Korea
  • World number one: Brady Ellison, USA
  • World champion: Brady Ellison, USA
  • Competition time: 1pm GMT+3 (local) Saturday 7 September


3 Storylines

1) The awesome foursome. Brady, Mete, Sjef and Woojin have been pacing the recurve men’s peloton all year. They qualified for this Hyundai Archery World Cup Final as the top four seeds – and, if the draw falls their way, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the quartet make up the semifinals.

If the draw falls that way. That’s a really, really big ‘if’. (Can somebody do the maths?)

2) Where did Wijler come from? By his own standards, Steve Wijler hasn’t had the best of years. Outside of the stage in Antalya, where he finished second, the Dutch 22-year-old won just a single match on the international circuit. He’s snuck onto the roster in Moscow, though, and his past record matters not.

3) No, no, yes. Athletes qualify for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final and then they have to accept their place. Korea has already started its selection process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and some Korean archers prioritised.

Kim Woojin said ‘yes’ to his Moscow ticket, Lee Woo Seok said ‘no’. Lee Seungyun, the next highest-qualifier, also declined. So the invitation fell to a fourth Korean man – Bae Jaehyeon, the silver medallist in Berlin. Will Bae be more than an also-ran?


Data correct as of 30 August 2019. World ranking given is current. Average arrow score, match wins and tiebreak wins in international competition this season only.

Brady Ellison, USA 

Undoubtedly Brady’s best season in a career full of impressive results. Possibly one of the best seasons of all time? The case for that would be made significantly stronger if he took a record fifth Hyundai Archery World Cup Final victory.

  • World ranking: 1
  • Average arrow score: 9.53
  • Match wins: 31-6 (84%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 5-1 (83%)

Mete Gazoz, Turkey

Archery’s breakout star of 2018 is now a staple at the top of the results list. Having collected a second consecutive gold medal in Berlin, Gazoz will look to improve on a disappointing debut at the season-ending event from Samsun where he finished sixth. 

  • World ranking: 5
  • Average arrow score: 9.39
  • Match wins: 19-9 (68%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 3-2 (60%)

Sjef van den Berg, Netherlands 

A match win percentage that is inordinately low doesn’t paint a true picture of Sjef’s performance in 2019. (That happens with fourth-place finishes – because you lose the semifinal and the bronze medal match as you depart a tournament.) One of these competitions will break Sjef’s way. Will it be Moscow?

  • World ranking: 7
  • Average arrow score: 9.39
  • Match wins: 19-12 (61%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 2-3 (40%)

Kim Woojin, Korea 

Still number two in the world rankings and still shooting at an exceptional level, Woojin has been overshadowed by Ellison of late. He also didn’t win anything in 2019, yet. If that holds true after Moscow, it’ll be the first in four seasons in which Kim does not take an individual gold medal.

  • World ranking: 2
  • Average arrow score: 9.53
  • Match wins: 14-4 (78%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 1-0 (100%)

Mauro Nespoli, Italy

Three bronze medal matches from four Hyundai Archery World Cup stages have put Mauro high into the top-10 in the world rankings. He also finished fourth at the Hyundai World Archery Championships this season – and won the European Games.

  • World ranking: 6
  • Average arrow score: 9.34
  • Match wins: 17-7 (71%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 3-2 (60%)

Steve Wijler, Netherlands 

The reigning European Champion added a silver medal at the European Games, behind Mauro, in Minsk in the summer. His Hyundai Archery World Cup record wasn’t great in 2019 – but he made the Final off the back of a solid second-placed outing in Antalya.

  • World ranking: 3
  • Average arrow score: 9.26
  • Match wins: 22-8 (73%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 4-1 (80%)

Bae Jaehyeon, Korea 

A silver medal at his debut stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Berlin had Bae in position to fill-in when Lee Woo Seok and Lee Seungyun withdrew from this event. It remains to be seen whether he’ll make more of the opportunity.

  • World ranking: 22
  • Average arrow score: 9.14
  • Match wins: 7-2 (78%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 0-0

Artem Makhnenko, Russia

Russia’s host representative in Moscow, Makhnenko, has yet to podium at the international level outdoors. But the 23-year-old has flashed in the past. He finished fourth at the Salt Lake stage of the tour in 2017 and made it to the quarterfinals in Antalya this year.

  • World ranking: 23
  • Average arrow score: 9.22
  • Match wins: 14-5 (74%)
  • Tiebreak wins: 1-0 (100%)

The 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final takes place on 6-7 September in Moscow, Russia.