Preview: Remote indoor circuit enters home stretch amid rising pandemic restrictions

Over the next month and a half, we will have coverage from four weekends of the Indoor Archery World Series, which is combining live and remote tournaments for the first time in 2021.

This weekend’s third online stage, accompanied by a visit to the Dutch national training centre for the Papendal Invitational, is followed by the Sud de France – Nimes Archery Tournament on the last few days of January. 

We will then return with the fourth online leg and Rushmore Rumble on 12-14 February, before this year’s grand finale, a team-only Indoor Archery World Series Finals held entirely remotely at the end of next month.

More than 5000 archers around the globe are registered for this third virtual stage, the second consecutive leg to have hit that milestone. But with last-minute restrictions on sports venues and activities in place to combat the resurgent pandemic, the final number of results submitted is expected to be lower.

Oh Jin Hyek (1193), Aida Roman (1174), Stas Modic (1193), Bayley Sargeant (1182), Erik Jonsson (1146) and Lina Bjorklund (1086) lead the open rankings entering the competition.

Archers are listed on the total of their best three scores across the season. With this event being the third leg – and plenty more opportunity for archers to climb the leaderboards in Nimes and stage four – we’ll have an idea of the standard at the top come early next week.

The event is simple as always: 60 arrows at a target set 18 metres away, using a target face measuring 40 centimetres in diameter – single spot, vertical triple spot or triangular triple spot. The recurve 10-ring measures 4 centimetres in diameter, the compound 10-ring measures 2.

The maximum score is 600 points. In December, Dave Cousins hit a perfect. Will anyone join him this time around?

Online event

This month’s remote stage runs to the same rules as the previous legs in November and December. Archers shoot in one of three time zones – Asia/Oceania (UTC+8), Europe/Africa (UTC+1) and the Americas (UTC-5) – starting at 08h00 on Friday and ending at 20h00 on Sunday.

Results will be available to follow live online as they’re submitted.

Scores don’t become official until they’ve been checked against submitted evidence, which is either official tournament scoresheets or pictures, by competition control.

Here are some storylines to watch out for.

1) Oh’s turn? Felix Wieser won the November event with 598 points, and then Brady Ellison topped December with the same score. London 2012 Olympic Champion Oh Jin Hyek, who leads all recurve men in the open ranking, has been hovering just behind those stage-winning totals, shooting consistent scores of 596 and 597 through the first two months of the season. Can he pull just one or two more points out of the bag?

2) The lockdown effect. More than 5000 archers are registered to compete. But, particularly in Europe, many countries have closed sporting venues in response to the rising challenge of the pandemic. How many people this will prevent shooting – and how it’ll affect the top of the ranking – is unknown.

3) Where’s the follow-up? The 2020 Indoor Archery World Series was the year of the compound women. The indoor world record was broken multiple times, and archers like Paige Pearce, Sarah Prieels and Ella Gibson were trailblazing a new standard, and expectation, for the very elite in the division. We haven’t seen that same level so far this season.

If you’re shooting this weekend, share your stories on social media using the hashtags #archery, #IndoorWorldSeries and #BacktoArchery.

Papendal Invitational

The best-laid plans are flexible plans in the current climate! We’d hoped to be back in the World Archery Excellence Centre for a second month. But due to strict lockdowns in Switzerland, holding another invitational event in the Olympic capital just wasn’t possible.

Instead we’ve been invited to Papendal and the national training centre of the Netherlands archery team.

The Dutch recurve squad is hosting some visitors from Belgium for this month’s remote stage. They’ll be scoring their 60-arrow, 18-metre round live on Saturday morning – and shooting eliminations afterward, which we’ll be streaming delayed on Sunday.

Unfortunately, this weekend’s coverage will only feature recurve archers. But, we’ll be back in just two weeks with a full slate from the – now bonus – stage at the Sud de France – Nimes Archery Tournament.

Papendal line-up

Position in the Indoor Archery World Series open ranking after the second stage given in brackets.

Recurve men: Steve Wijler, Netherlands (4); Sjef van den Berg, Netherlands (7); Rick van der Ven, Netherlands (10); Gijs Broeksma, Netherlands (26); Jonah Wilthagen, Netherlands (26); Elian van Steen, Belgium (510); Ben Adriaensen, Belgium (not ranked); and Jarno de Smedt, Belgium (not ranked).

Wijler was very impressive in his four-set, 12-arrow perfect victory over Florian Unruh in the final of the Lausanne Invitational last month. Can either of the young Belgian archers make a dent in this experienced Dutch cohort?

Recurve women: Gaby Schloesser, Netherlands (8); Laura van der Winkel, Netherlands (21); Charlotte De Strooper, Belgium (not ranked); and Julie Hellemans, Belgium (not ranked).

Schloesser will be the only archer to compete in all three invitational events – having won the first in Wohlen and finished a close second at the second in Lausanne. All four of these women will shoot in front of the cameras.

What’s next?

The fourth and last remote stage of the 2021 Indoor Archery World Series will take place on 12-14 February 2021. Coverage will come from the Rushmore Rumble, which was recently announced as the corresponding live event, being held in Yankton, USA.

Entries for the online tournament are already being accepted through OpenWAREOS.

But, before that, we’re heading to the Sud de France – Nimes Archery Tournament on 29-31 January for a bonus stage of the 2021 Indoor Archery World Series.

Read more about how the circuit works, how clubs can participate and follow scores from the third stage online.

The 2021 Indoor Archery World Series is a mass-participation circuit of live and online archery tournaments.