Brady: Korea’s return to circuit good but Gwangju stage not different

Brady Ellison shoots during the Hyundai Archery World Cup season opener in Antalya.

World number one Brady Ellison has said he’s glad the Korean team is making its return to the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit at this week’s second stage in Gwangju.

The perennially successful nation has been absent from the tour since late 2019, with the 2020 season cancelled and the choice made not to send teams during 2021 in favour of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“They didn’t shoot much or at all in the lead-up to the Games and they still did what Korea does,” said Brady, alluding to the team’s four-gold haul in Tokyo.

“But I think it will be good having the top guys on the circuit again.”

The five-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion says that while he doesn’t think this event – on Korean soil – doesn’t inherently mean anything different than any other stage, the strong archery culture in Korea will bring a boost to the atmosphere.

“We’ll have a great crowd, hopefully,” he explained. “That will add to the feelings and the excitement.”

Korea hasn’t hosted an event on the Hyundai Archery World Cup since the opening stage in 2007 and hasn’t tournament of this level since the worlds in 2009. Both were held in Ulsan.

“I‘m looking forward to this week,” said Brady. “The last time I was here it snowed on us on the first day. I’m just excited to get started.”

Conditions don’t look like snow for either the early phases at the Gwangju International Archery Centre or the finals over the weekend in a temporary arena at Gwangju Women’s University. The forecasts call for temperatures in the mid-20s degrees Celsius with medium cloud cover, although it can get windy.

Not perfect conditions but not bad.

For now, Korea’s circuit return is the story of the week – at least until we’ve had some scoring arrows. Then we’ll be back to letting the on-field performances drive the narrative. And there are stories on offer.

“Maybe I get another crack at Kim Woojin or something,” said Brady, perhaps finally relishing the thought of taking the fight to his long-time rival – and the reigning World Archery Champion – on his soil. “But it doesn’t matter where we are. We all just have to go and shoot 10s.”

Competition starts with compound qualifying on Tuesday in Gwangju.