What happened last time? A pre-Guatemala rewind to the World Cup stage in Medellin in 2019

Sara Lopez celebrates during the first stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin.

Archery fans could be forgiven for forgetting a few details from the most recent Hyundai Archery World Cup event. After all, more than 18 months have passed since the reigning circuit champions were crowned at the circuit finals in the Russian capital of Moscow. 

The international landscape, however, remains largely the same. The world rankings were frozen due to the pandemic, and we haven’t seen much of the international elite battle against other world-class competition as of late.

Three of the international series’ four reigning champions – Brady Ellison, Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez – will be in Guatemala City in just over a week, starting the campaigns to defend their titles at the first stage of 2021.

Interestingly, two years ago, it was the four archers who won individual gold medals at the first stage of the year in Colombia who also took the titles at the season-ending Hyundai Archery World Cup Final. It was those early wins that automatically qualified them for Moscow – where we ultimately saw Lopez and Ellison take their record-fifth circuit titles, concluding one of the most thrilling outdoor seasons in recent memory.

Before we get started with things in 2021, let’s rewind back two years – and remember what happened at the first stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin.

The top qualifiers

The qualification score that Lopez shot at this tournament matched the world record she shot at Colombian national selections back in 2015. That record still stands.

The winners

All four top seeds won the individual events. That’s not common!

How the wins happened

Recurve men: Beating Korea’s Lee Woo Seok handed Ellison his first stage win on the circuit in three years. Kim Woojin, who finished third, would take the Longines Prize for Precision, hitting 69% 10s throughout the competition. This was the victory that set the tone for one of the greatest seasons of all time – with Brady later winning the worlds and the World Cup Final.

Recurve women: Another tone-setter. Kang Chae Young only really lost one match in 2019, and it wasn’t in Medellin, where she took triple gold in the individual, mixed team and team competitions. Melanie Gaubil and Tomomi Sugimoto rounded out the recurve women’s podium.

Compound men: Schloesser shot 14 10s in a row to open the final, waiting until his final arrow to land a nine wide left for a score of 149 out of the possible 150 points. It was the lowest score he shot in matchplay throughout the entire tournament. The missed perfect didn’t matter; Braden Gellenthien couldn’t keep up. Combined with his field-leading 713-point ranking around, Mike was deemed the most impressive archer of the stage by our admittedly subjective metrics. Jean Philippe Boulch took a well-deserved third after a shoot-off.

Compound women: Entering the finals arena with a 148-point average, Lopez had a tougher time in the gold-medal match at her debut event of the season – and on home soil, no less. Jody Vermuelen took the match all the way to a tiebreak but couldn’t press an advantage home. The third-placed compound woman in Medellin was Alexis Ruiz, the current world number one.

The best match

Looking back, there are three real contenders for the title of ‘best match’.

The obvious choice is the compound women’s final between Sara Lopez and Jody Vermeulen. It went the distance – and then a bit further. Sara’s eventual victory, at this tournament at the very start of the season, qualified her for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final, where she’d take gold at the end of the season.

Sjef van den Berg versus Kim Woojin in the recurve men’s bronze medal match is worth a watch. There’s some serious talent on display.

But the match you’ve got to watch is the recurve mixed team final between Korea and the USA. It’s Kim Woojin and Kang Chae Young, two modern legends from archery’s most successful nation, against the killer combination of Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold, one of the best of all time and a rising star in the States. We won’t ruin it how it turns out! Take a look.

The medal table

  • KOR flag Korea  4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
  • USA flag USA  2 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze
  • COL flag Colombia  2 gold, 1 bronze
  • NED flag Netherlands  1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze
  • ITA flag Italy  1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
  • FRA flag France  3 silver, 2 bronze
  • AUS flag Australia  1 silver
  • JPN flag Japan  1 bronze
  • CHN flag China  1 bronze

What about now?

The 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup starts with stage one in Guatemala City on 19-25 April. More than 150 archers from 25 countries are registered to compete.

Read more previews before the season begins: