Olympic archery power rankings: April 2021
Welcome to World Archery’s power rankings for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Throughout the outdoor season, our stable of writers will assess the field of recurve archers in contention to track who stands the best chance of cresting the podium in July.
We will also look at a few names who have seen their chances spike or plummet, athletes who have peaked or troughed and archers looking in fine form as the Games draw nearer.
With April in full bloom, here are 10 archers – five men and five women – who are already off to a promising start in their campaigns to secure Olympic Champion titles at Tokyo 2020.
1. Brady Ellison, USA
The most dominant archer in 2019 – the last pre-pandemic international season – Ellison won the Hyundai World Archery Championships, the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final for a record fifth time, broke the 72-arrow, 70-metre ranking round world record with 702 points and ascended to the number one spot in the world rankings, which he still holds. Eighteen months later, Ellison is a new father and, until we see proof otherwise, remains the favourite for Tokyo.
2. Kim Woojin, Korea
The top men’s qualifier for the Korean national team in 2021, two-time World Archery Champion Kim Woojin already owns one team gold medal from his first Olympic appearance at Rio 2016. He is also perhaps the most talented and successful recurve man never to have podiumed in the individual competition at the Games.
3. Mete Gazoz, Turkey
This is a bold position for the ultra-talented Gazoz, considering Turkey is still without a quota place for the Games. But he’s a favourite to secure a spot on home soil at the European Championships in Antalya. As his back-to-back victories at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Berlin in 2018 and 2019 show, he can win matches on the big stage.
4. Marcus D’Almeida, Brazil
After bursting onto the scene in 2014 and winning a silver medal at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final, D’Almeida couldn't muster that same excellence when he stepped into the Sambodromo for his Olympic debut in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. Five years on, Marcus is a very different man. He’s an ascendent talent once again.
5. Oh Jin Hyek, Korea
No matter how many stories of young archers stepping into the limelight we’ll try to spin in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020, this tale – of a grizzled veteran into the last days of an exceptional career – is potentially better. Oh Jin Hyek, the London 2012 Olympic Champion, is on the Korean squad for 2021 and still has a chance at one last Olympic Games. He’s got the willpower to do it.
There will be much more clarity in the recurve men’s division after the first stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City in April. Arcila was largely unknown before shooting through the wind to the Pan American title last week.
1. Kang Chae Young, Korea
The current world number one and reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion came one step closer to her first Olympic appearance by making the eight-athlete Korean squad in the top position earlier this week.
2. Lei Chien-Ying, Chinese Taipei
Having beaten Kang in the final of the world championships two years ago, Lei delivered a victory for which the Taipei team has been waiting for so many years. Can she pull off the only win bigger?
3. An San, Korea
Talented young Korean archers come and go. Few stick around. The year off from international duties may have actually done An San some good – and she’s currently the number two behind Kang in selections.
4. Deepika Kumari, India
If sporting results were written by journalists, the absolute star of Indian archery would win her country’s first Olympic archery medal in the sport and become a bonafide national superstar. Unfortunately, medals are decided on the competition field – and Deepika will have to win it herself.
5. Wu Jiaxin, China
An Olympian in 2016, Jiaxin shot 689 out of a possible 720 points at the first Chinese team selection event. By our reckoning, that’s the third-highest competition total shot by a recurve woman in history.
Vazquez and Dos Santos put themselves on the watchlist with impressive performances in Monterrey, Mexico, the former taking the Pan Am Champion title and the latter winning the qualification tournament for the Olympic Games. It’s presumed that Ane Marcelle will fill the Brazilian quota place, but Alejandra Valencia has already been named to the single Mexican spot for Tokyo 2020. Tan Ya-Ting is a serial international medallist.