Kim finishes week in Antalya unbeatable, winning individual gold

Park Seongsoo cools down Kim Woojin.

Kim Woojin ended his 2024 Hyundai World Cup individual hoodoo as he beat Marcus D’Almeida in a shoot off for gold in the third stage, finishing the week undefeated in Antalya, Türkiye.

Once the world number one D’Almeida and three Kim booked themselves into the final, world class archery was expected, and it was on fine display.

D’Almeida started shaky for his remarkable high standards in the first end shooting 26 whilst Kim started strong as ever with a 28. 

It meant Brazil’s only recurve men athlete for Paris 2024 D’Almeida was on the backfoot straight from the off but found his form that we’ve become so used to, shooting three consecutive 29s and a 30 in the final end to tie scores with Kim at six set points apiece, heading for a shoot off.

Finding the middle would’ve been easier for Kim but he shot wide in the nine, as did D’Almeida but even wider on the left.

“I was expecting the fifth end to be a winning end to finish the match, I didn’t expect it to go to a shoot off,” said Kim on what he was thinking after discovering he hit the nine for the shoot off. "I did my best in the situation that I was in, and I enjoyed the match.”

It turned out to be Kim’s second gold of the day. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion was a part of the formidable Korean men’s team who beat France in the recurve team gold medal match. 

Having not won at Shanghai or Yecheon, Kim admitted this victory overshadowed the earlier team gold. “The afternoon match was much more fun than the morning team match… Every match in the afternoon, it was all high quality, high scoring matches. 

“All the matches were very close, all went into last moments so, it was a fun day for me.”

Kim, undefeated in Antalya, has only ever won men’s team medals in the Olympics, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. 

But consistently shooting high scores in the stages can only mean good omens for four time World Cup gold medallist Kim in Paris which begins in just over a month, 25 July – 4 August. 

Yang Xiaolei and coach Kwon Yonghak celebrating.

It was tough pill to swallow for 2024 South American champion D’Almeida, shooting a perfect score in the last end, a nine in the shoot off and still missing out on gold. 

The quality though he is proud to be a part of. “This was one of the best matches of my life. I’m happy this moment happened before the Olympic Games. 

"I’m going to keep training and keep to my work.”

With both athletes currently shooting at such a high level it would not be out of the realms of possibilities for these two exceptional archers to meet again in Paris and Tlaxcala.

There was shoot off drama also in the women’s individual. Yang Xiaolei a member of the Shanghai and Yecheon recurve women team gold medallists China, won her first Hyundai World Cup individual gold.

After shooting her final arrow as an eight, Yang’s sarcastic smile said it all, surely no individual gold? But the arrow of her opponent, Waka Sonoda had other ideas.

The audience in the arena gasped in sheer shock as Japan’s Sonoda shot well wide in the six. 

She had been smiley all day especially after winning the earlier recurve mixed team final, but froze after the shot landed in utter disbelief. 

The smiles disappeared and reappeared on Yang and the supporting vociferous Chinese team’s faces. “Win or lose, I was still looking forward to it today…,” said Yang. “We should always be of the opinion to do it, and then, believe in myself and believe my team.”

Both men and women gold medal matches drew a close to Antalya 2024 after the compound action concluded yesterday.

The boiling hot and humid Antalya was home to a World Cup, but Paris is the home of archery’s golden goose, the 2024 Olympic Games.

All eyes now turn to Les Invalides.