Double header of France vs Korea for recurve team finals in Antalya

France and Korea men’s teams facing off in Antalya 2024.

This Sunday’s Hyundai Archery World Cup stage 3 recurve finals will see the fixture of France vs Korea twice as both nations’ men and women teams reached the gold medal matches in Antalya, Türkiye.

Baptiste Addis, Thomas Chirault and Jean-Charles Valladont defeated China 5-3 in the recurve men’s semifinals before their French teammates Lisa Barbelin, Amélie Cordeau and Caroline Lopez edged India 5-4 in a shoot off.

This was a first of the year for France but business as usual for Korea who are familiar faces in World Cup recurve team finals with both men and women teams shooting for gold in the past five consecutive stages of archery’s international premier circuit.

French national record holder Chirault was not intimidated though by the uphill task his team face. “We have to match against strong teams to be prepared for the D-Day. It will be very interesting. 

“Whatever happens, it’s always good to take experience for the next competitions but we will do our best to win this medal.”

Sunday will be a similar run for France also as both teams won gold in the recent European Championships in Essen, Germany.

As Paris 2024 is just around the corner, 2023 Sud de France champion Chirault believes the practice is finally coming into fruition.

“Almost every competition before this year we made a good qualification round but didn’t manage to go far in the matches so, this time it’s different. 

“We practiced a lot as a team in Paris to get these kinds of medals. Now we are ready for the next competition.”

Barbelin is now guaranteed to win her fourth career medal in Antalya having done so in 2021, European Championships and Grand Prix, and in last year’s World Cup stage in the Turkish city. 

The 24 year old is also relishing her new role as the team’s elder stateswoman, with Cordeau and Lopez just 18 and 20 years old.

“This year was quite different than last year because now I’m the mama of the team. I like this job. We worked really hard these past two years and now the work is paying off,” said Barbelin. 

The Korean women team will be glad to see France, a new opponent in the arenas having come up short against China in Shanghai and Yecheon this year. 

In a major upset, Malaysia knocked out China 5-1 earlier in the second round. Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Lim Sihyeon, admitted she wasn’t happy with her qualification yesterday but didn’t want to pay too much attention to the increasingly growing rivalry between the two nations. 

“I thought that there was something with China in the stages, but we didn’t think China was a competitor… we just think about ourselves and focus on our matches.”

Dominant they have been, but Korea’s men team nearly failed to join Lim, Jeon Hunyoung and Nam Suhyeon in the finals as they needed to drop a perfect 30 in a shoot off against Japan.

Kim Je Deok won both men and mixed team golds in Tokyo but as the trip to Les Invalides draws closer, he feels the quality of archery in the Olympics will be higher than ever.

“I think all the countries are prepared for the Olympics. There skills are much higher than before. During the match with Japan, I had to focus on every shot,” Kim said. “Regarding this event, I think I should prepare more for the Olympics to do good.”

The bronze medal matches also took place in the morning session. It was bittersweet for the Japanese women team who won the medal but were in a sombre mood as they needed to win gold to maximise their rankings before the world rankings are issued on 24 June. The highest two nations who haven’t qualified a full team of three will be given the necessary quotas for Paris.

Kao Wenchao on the other hand for China was far more delighted, beating Japan’s men team to win his first international medal. 

Although happy, Kao believes the best is yet to come. “There is still a long way to go. This medal is a starting point for me and will help me prepare for the following national and international competitions.

“I deserve this podium.”

Action at the Centennial Archery Field continues this afternoon with the compound men and women eliminations to determine Saturday’s semifinals.