Best of 2016: The scores of the year

This last year, 2016, with the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio, a full Hyundai Archery World Cup season and an ever-increasing level of the world’s best archers, has been an incredible one. In this series, we’ll break down some of the best of international archery over the past 12 months. First up is the top scores of the year…

1. Kim’s 700

No prizes for guessing the number one: Kim Woojin’s incredible breaking of the 70-metre ranking round world record in Rio.

Im Dong Hyun’s mark of 699, out of a possible 720 points, had stood for the four years since London 2012, but it had been looking under threat for a while.

Before the Rio Games, Kim Woojin had already hinted at a record-breaking performance to the media with his characteristic mix of polite reticence and Muhammed Ali level-hyperbole. Luckily for him, the men’s ranking round at the Olympics was warm and still with little or no wind. In other words, the perfect conditions for a record.

With six arrows to go, he needed at least 59 to make the magical 700 mark. Four hit the 10, the fifth was a nine, but he coolly drilled the final 10, turned around and said – in English – ‘new world record’, to pandemonium from the world’s media in the Sambodromo.

Woojin’s 700 was the first world and Olympic record of the Rio Games, but the last that day, that of the opening ceremony. The capricious Rio weather meant that the women’s ranking round in the afternoon was shot in much windier conditions and no-one even came near to beating the Olympic mark of 673 set by Lina Herasymenko all the way back in 1996.

With the way international recurve standards have been creeping up, it will be interesting to see how long Woojin’s mark lasts.

2. Ellison’s 598

The US archer’s standout year continued apace in November, when he broke the 15-year-old indoor ranking round record of 597 set by Michele Frangilli back in 2001. Despite claiming not being in the best condition, recovering from surgery, with a barely-tuned bow and a blood blister on his finger, Brady Ellison managed to drop just two points in 60 arrows.

“I think I’m going to be better than I have ever been once I get healthy,” he quipped afterwards.

The mark of 598 was dramatically matched – and almost beaten – just one week later by Ku Bonchan, shooting, astonishingly, his first ever official indoor competition at the Lausanne Archery Classic, the inaugural tournament at the World Archery Excellence Centre.

3. Gellenthien’s 718

Over 72 arrows, compound archer Braden Gellenthien dropped just two out of the 10-ring during the 50-metre ranking round at the USA’s national championships. At the time, he said the score felt like a “rebirth of sorts”. 

“I’m finally in a comfortable place with who I am as a competitor, archer and person,” he added.

4. Choi, Kumari’s 686

In 2016, both Choi Misun and Deepika Kumari managed to match, but not quite pass, Ki Bo Bae’s world 70-metre ranking round mark of 686 set at the Universiade in 2015; Choi at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage Medellin and Kumari at the leg in Shanghai. Will this be the first world record to go in 2017? Watch this space.

5. Schloesser’s 717

“It always feels good to shoot a record, but it feels even better to do it here,” said Mike Schloesser at the first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai, after shooting 717 out of a possible 720 points for the compound 50-metre ranking round. “And I only put three arrows out. It’s not a lot.”

This score deserved to be higher on the list – until the world-record 717 was broken by a point by Gellenthien later the season.

Honourable mentions

Zhou Jiamin and Jessica Stretton: Both women set 15-arrow match Paralympic records at the Sambodromo in September. Zhou in the compound open competition with 144 and, the next day, Stretton in the W1 event with a 141. 

Brady Ellison: 697 in Shanghai. Woojin wasn’t the first to have a tilt at the 700 in 2016 – Brady had a shot at beating it at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Shanghai, but he didn’t post the required 60 to finish and ended up with a 697 – still, the third highest score in history (at the time) and a superb achievement.

He said: “You only have a tournament once every two years or so with the weather to do it. First you need to be good that day, then you need the good ones to go in the 10, and then some of the okay ones, too!”

Seppie Cilliers: The veteran, part-time South African archer reportedly tied the second highest compound 1440 Round score in history with a 1418-point performance in Durban.