Unruh keen on World Games repeat, final clash with Ellison

Florian Unruh shoots during practice at the world field championships.

Florian Unruh arrived this week in South Dakota as the most recent winner of an international field event. He won the World Games in Birmingham earlier this summer. With the world championships in the discipline not having taken place since 2018, Unruh is the in-form man and one of the favourites to clinch gold at the Yankton 2022 World Archery Field Championships.

The German archer has had a consistent season – and he is the reigning European Champion in field archery, too.

However, in a format of the sport that is as unpredictable as it is exciting, he’s tempered expectations.

“I am just trying to shoot good,” he said during practice on Monday. Unruh knows he’s a contender, though.

“I guess Brady will be pretty tough to beat. And there are other good guys. It will not be easy.”

The German archer defeated former World Archery Champion Brady Ellison to take gold at the World Games in Birmingham in July. It is not unlikely that the pair’s paths will cross once again in Yankton.

“It would be really, really nice but we will see,” he said.

The NFAA Easton Archery Centre in Yankton, the largest purpose-built facility for the sport in the world, is well-known among the athletes, having hosted the Hyundai World Archery Championships and Hyundai Archery World Cup at the end of 2021. But the custom-constructed field courses offer something new.

“It is my third time here. I was at the indoor world championships and the outdoor worlds last year. And now it's field,” he said. The permanent ranges situated behind the large target archery fields won’t be used until later in this week. Qualifying will happen some 15 minutes away, on the more challenging ground surrounding a nearby lake.

“I do not know the course. I have heard that the courses are pretty hard and have many angles which is very nice and I am looking forward to it. It will be fun,” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the World Archery Field Championships in 2020 – and the planned host, Yankton, was awarded the edition in 2022 instead. It’s been four years since the previous competition in Cortina. Florian finished ninth at that event.

“Of course, it is really nice to have World Archery Field Championships again. I missed the last ones,” said Unruh.

The archers will not just compete for medals in Yankton not just for medals. The new calculation system for the Sandila World Archery Ranking was introduced this week – and points earned at international field archery competitions count, too. Final positions from the World Games were included for the first time today, resulting in Unruh moving up to third place.

“I have just read the new world ranking this morning. It is very nice to be in third place now. And I talked to Brady about his first place,” said Florian.

“It is really nice for me to have the World Games and the World Archery Field Championships included in the world ranking. It is better to shoot field and have the points for that, not to have outdoor, indoor and field separated.”

Unruh and the rest of the recurve and compound fields will look to bag more points on the courses in Yankton.

Competition begins on Tuesday with the first day of qualifying.