Five archers to watch at the second stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup
The second stage of this year’s 16th season of the Hyundai Archery World Cup is almost here, with Gwangju getting underway on Monday.
Some 272 archers from 39 countries are registered to compete.
Three reigning circuit champions, who are also the current world number ones in their respective categories – Brady Ellison, Sara Lopez and Mike Schloesser – are in Gwangju. The fourth top-ranked archer in the world, Olympic Champion An San, is also in attendance and competing on her home field. (The event is being held at her university.) Our fourth circuit champion, Lisa Unruh, is taking a break in 2022.
With his win at the first stage in Antalya last month, only Schloesser has confirmed his ticket to the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Tlaxcala in Mexico in October – with a shot at a share of the circuit’s biggest-ever prize fund.
Let’s take a look at five archers we’re watching in Korea.
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Who are they? Recurve man from Brazil.
What’s the story? D’Almeida is appearing at his first global event of the season and will be looking to capitalise on a good 2021.
After bursting onto the scene as a 16-year-old, he enjoyed well-documented early success in 2014 and 2015 but that did not continue into a home city Olympic Games at Rio 2016, with Brazilian teammate Bernardo Oliveira admitting “…there was a bit of a hangover after the Olympics,” about that period.
But 2021 was a return to the top step for Marcus. He finished second at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships at the end of the year – a result he dedicated to his grandmother – after taking team gold and individual silver at the 2021 Pan American Championships at the very start.
The 24-year-old will be hoping that 2022 will be the year he builds his medal collection further.
What’s the goal? A circuit medal for the first time since 2014.
2. Gabi Sasai
Who are they? Recurve woman from the USA.
What’s the story? Breakout star. Sasai, known as Gabi, always dreamt of shooting with the legendary Brady Ellison after seeing posters of him on the walls at her archery range when she was six years old. Ten years later, she did, winning silver in the recurve mixed team event last month.
Gabi also let us in on her secret weapon: boba tea. “Boba has helped me more in my archery journey than one might think; I sometimes use it as motivation to go to practice which has helped me escape burning out by keeping me motivated towards something a little more short-term rather than something longer term such as a tournament.”
Aside from that mixed team result, she also made it deep in the Antalya individual competition and was only eliminated in the quarterfinals.
What’s the goal? Deliver another solid points finish in Korea.
- Age: 16
- World ranking: 85
- Best result: Recurve mixed team medallist in Antalya last month.
- Instagram: @gabi365archery
3. An San
Who are they? Recurve woman from Korea.
What’s the story? The world number one is shooting on her home field and in her home country. But will the reigning Olympic champion feel at home as she shoots in her first stage of the tour since taking gold at Tokyo 2020?
The Gwangju Women’s University club player successfully survived the gruelling Korea trials – where many Olympic medallists have fallen in the past – to ensure her place on the team on home turf. Everyone in the archery world is relishing the opportunity to see her in action again.
What’s the goal? Maybe it’s better to ask: What’s the gold? It is gold, gold and gold on the Gwangju target for San.
Who are they? Compound woman from Mexico.
What’s the story? Last year saw a run of medals for the young Mexican archer, with metal picked up at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships, on the Hyundai Archery World Cup and at the Pan American Championships – but none of them were gold.
Becerra is part of a Mexican squad appearing at their first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the new season. The compound element particularly will be hoping to make a strong start as they look to the podium – ahead of the World Games – and to beat their continental rivals Colombia.
What’s the goal? Give continental nemesis Sara Lopez a run for her money.
- Age: 21
- World ranking: 8
- Best result: Bronze at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.
Who are they? Recurve man from Japan.
What’s the story? Japan, including Furukawa, is also appearing at its first stage of the season – and first since 2019. Like the other Asian nations, the team is quickly resetting its goals for the year after the recent postponement of the 2022 Asian Games.
Furukawa last competed on the circuit in Shanghai three years ago.
A team and individual bronze at his home Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020 confirmed Furukawa’s stay in the world top 20. Could the international veteran eye a spot back in the top 10 – he peaked at third back in 2014 – or are the team events the priority for the Japanese leader?
What’s the goal? Despite 17 medals in team events at 28 stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup stretching back to 2010, Furukawa has only ever taken one individual medal – a bronze at Antalya 2014.