Mike Schloesser shoots clean to top Taipei Open qualification

Mike Schloesser

Local archer Tang Chih-Chun (593), Indian women Jyothi Surekha Vennam (594) and Ankita Bhakat (586), and compound men’s world number Mike Schloesser topped qualifying at the Taipei Open today, with Schloesser headlining Friday’s action by shooting a perfect round. 

This is obviously a tournament where he feels comfortable. Mister Perfect also shot a 600 in qualification last year at the same venue during the first Taipei Open – before going on to win.

“It’s the third time Ive shot 600 this year. And over the years, Ive done it maybe 20 times,” he said.

Of course, I came here to win it, and so far, it’s been working out good. I would like to, of course, walk away with the win, but if at the end I [just] have a good showing. I’m happy.”

One year ago, Mike and wife Gaby Schloesser were among the largest names in the small cohort of foreign visitors to this early event on the international open-entry indoor circuit. They both won.

Gaby has also returned to Taipei this year to defend her title but has an uphill battle after qualifying fifth in the recurve women’s competition with 580 points.

NTSU arena

In 2022, the first edition of the event – a 250 (entry) level tournament on the Indoor Archery World Series – attracted 296 participants with over two-thirds coming from the host nation.

This time many more international archers are attending, with large contingents from India, Singapore and Hong Kong, China making the trip and boosting the numbers to 428 athletes in total. Just under 200 are from Chinese Taipei.

One high-profile local archer who did not compete in 2022 is Lei Chien-Ying, the 2019 recurve women’s World Archery Champion.

A long-time member of the international squad, she rarely competes indoors. But she qualified in third place today with 582 points.

“The tension in [indoor] competition is different, due to the shorter distance,” she said. “I actually trained myself in some ways to focus more on this competition. The mindset is very different.”

Lei, however, played down her chances.

“There’s no specific goal here. I just hope to enjoy my archery.”

Tang Chih-Chun

India’s compound women have achieved unprecedented success outdoors in 2023, winning the team events at the worlds and Asian Games, so it’s no surprise the top three in Taipei all represent the nation.

Vennam (594), Parneet Kaur (589) and Muskan Kirar (585) were the only three in the category to break 580.

But what about Ankita Bhakat in the recurve women’s competition? As the pressure builds in the lead-up to the Olympics, India is looking for a flagbearer in the event – and Bhakat’s 586 beat out big names like Lei (582, third), Schloesser (580, fifth) and Denisa Barankova (575, seventh).

Barankova currently leads the Indoor Archery World Series elite ranking.

The 22-year-old Olympian won the opening event of the 18-metre season in Lausanne and finished second last month at the GT Open in Strassen.

As well as non-championship age group competitions (under 12, under 15 and over 50), the Taipei Open is also awarding ranking points towards the under 21 leaderboards, with archers vying for a spot in the second Indoor Archery World Series Youth Finals (taking place in Nimes in January).

Competition continues with eliminations on Saturday in Taipei.

Top seeds: Taipei Archery Open 2023