Korean women crash out of worlds with Olympic qualifying on the line

The Korean women’s team after losing in Berlin.

The unbeatable Korean recurve women proved… beatable at the Hyundai World Archery Championships in Berlin, as the world’s top-ranked team suffered an unprecedented loss to Indonesia in the last 16.

In the wake of the broken bracket, squads from France, the Netherlands, Germany and Mexico made the final four.

The Korean recurve men, meanwhile, held strong. They will shoot to retain the world title in Friday afternoon’s arena finals session, against Italy, Japan and a surging Türkiye.

Olympic qualifying is on the line in these events at the championships, making the Korean women’s loss all the more shocking. They will not win tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympics at this tournament.

“We were really focused but because of the wind we struggled in critical moments,” said An San, who won three gold medals at the last Games in Tokyo. “We lost because we didn’t shoot well, so we have to accept that and now shoot better in individuals.”

Korea made its international archery debut at the world championships in Berlin 44 years ago, when the women took gold. In 25 appearances, they had won the event 17 times, and only finished off the podium once – coming fifth in 1999.

This year, in the lead-up to an Olympics at which the team will attempt to extend its unbeaten streak at the Games to 10 editions, they finish ninth.

Korea’s loss is Mexico’s gain.

Aida Roman and Alejandra Valencia have comprised two-thirds of Mexican recurve women’s teams that have finished runner-up – to Korea – at two of the last three editions of this event, in 2017 and 2021.

With their championship rivals out of the way, and completed by emerging 17-year-old Angela Ruiz, Mexico is now a clear favourite for the world title.

“We are very happy and now just aiming for first place,” said Valencia.

The home crowd will be set firmly against them in their semifinal in the arena on Friday afternoon. Mexico’s final-four opponent is Germany.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Michelle Kroppen, who won a team bronze with this week’s host nation at the last Olympics. “We managed the home crowd very well. We feel super proud to win in front of family and friends.”

The top three teams at this week’s Hyundai World Archery Championships will win quota places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Clarification is required on the qualification system to confirm the effect of the French recurve women’s team, which receives an automatic quota as host of the next Olympics, on the distribution of quota places.

Competition continues this afternoon with mixed team and compound team eliminations in Berlin.

Final fours: Recurve teams

The semifinals and finals will take place in the afternoon session on Friday 4 August 2023.

Recurve men

  • Korea (1) versus Italy (12)
  • Japan (11) versus Türkiye (7)

Recurve women

  • France (8) versus Netherlands (12)
  • Germany (3) versus Mexico (7)