Choi Misun collects 6th gold medal of 2016 World Cup season

Choi Misun won every Hyundai Archery World Cup event she participated in this season, across the individual, mixed team and team competitions. First in Medellin, then in Antalya, she collected triple gold medals.

Her individual gold final in Antalya was against Ksenia Perova.

Choi and the Korean women’s team had already beaten Perova’s Russia to team gold earlier on recurve Sunday on Konyaalti beach.

Both athletes opened with 27-point sets and shared the opening set points. From that point on, it was all Choi. Three consecutive sets of 29 points each resulted in three set wins, and a 7-1 victory in the match.

“I didn’t expect to do so well in Medellin because I wasn’t really doing well at the time. I managed to cope there and it was good,” said Misun. “In Antalya, I was feeling great and my condition was good, I’m looking forward to perform well in both the World Cup Final and the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio.”

Choi, with partner Ku Bonchan, added mixed team gold for Korea.

The pair outshot India in the first and third sets of a three-set match, closing with a 38, to seal Choi Misun’s second consecutive clean sweep of the recurve women’s podiums. 

She is the second seed for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Odense, behind Chinese Taipei’s Tan Ya-Ting, who beat Choi’s teammate Chang Hye Jin to bronze in Antalya, 6-4.

Ku Bonchan had an opportunity to match Choi’s triple-gold count in Antalya.

With team and mixed team wins already secured, he took on teammate and 2013 World Archery Champion Lee Seungyun for the gold medal in the recurve men’s individual event. Lee won Antalya in 2015.

Lee opened with a 28, Ku a 27, and the youngest of the Korean men’s trio took a 2-0 lead.

Both archers shot 29 for each of the next two ends. Ku’s arrows out were his middle two. The match edged forward, at 4-2 heading into the fourth set.

Ku: 10. Lee: 10. Ku: 10. Lee: 10. 

Ku… nine. A 10 would make the match Lee’s – and that’s exactly what he got. A perfect 30 to finish off his opponent and teammate in a 6-2 victory.

“Last year my opponent [in the final] was Kim Woojin and this year it was Ku Bonchan, so it was comfortable for me because no matter the result, Korea will still win the gold medal match. This helps me to be more relaxed while shooting,” said Lee.

“I like Turkey and I like Antalya. Today is very hot, but the weather here is normally good. I like the food and the hotel we are staying as well. I actually forgot I won here in 2015, I guess it’s just more good memories for me in this place.”

Reigning World Archery Champion Kim Woojin made it a Korean clean sweep of the recurve men’s individual podium.

He was 4-0 down at one point in the bronze medal match, after India’s Atanu Das opened with sets of 30 and 29 points. But Woojin rallied, dropping just a point over the back three sets to catch up and force a shoot-off.

Kim shot a 10, first, and Atanu matched it – with an arrow in almost the identical position in the target. The official called the Korean’s arrow closer to the middle and the match in his favour.

“It’s been a long time since I last felt this tension during competition. It was a good match and I felt like I was doing very well, performing good, I was happy,” said Kim Woojin.

“My opponent was shooting very well, too, so finishing in shoot-off definitely brought more pressure on me. I was grinning because of the nerves and the pressure I was feeling.”

On the podium, Ku and Kim – who have a penchant for teasing the teammate they always refer to as the “youngest one” – swapped the podium cheques around so that Lee was left with the smallest amount.

In the Hyundai Archery World Cup rankings, it was also Lee left with the least.

Despite winning gold, Kim Woojin’s bronze handed him enough points to push Lee below him in the leaderboard – and make him ineligible for Odense as the third-ranked Korean. (Only two per nation are permitted.)

Ku Bonchan is ranked top for Odense 2016, ahead of three-time champion Brady Ellison.

Choi Misun and Kim Woojin collected the Longines Prize for Precision stage awards in Antalya, for recurve women and men, respectively. (Two were awarded due to the shortened circuit season.)