Marrakesh 2016: 10 things you need to know

The international indoor season has, officially, arrived.

Starting as it has for the past few years, the Indoor Archery World Cup visits Marrakesh, Morocco for the first stage of its four-city tour that culiminates in Las Vegas. The stop in North Africa is the only leg of the circuit held not in a permanent indoor facility – but in a temporary construction.

Here’s 10 other things you need to know about Marrakesh 2016

1. First of four

Marrakesh is the first of four stages on the Indoor Archery World Cup tour for the 2016-17 season. The circuit then visits Bangkok, Thailand on 10/11 December, Nimes, France on 20-22 January 2017, before the fourth stage and final in Las Vegas, NV, USA on 10-12 February.

Athletes accrue ranking points according to their final position at each stage.

The top 16 highest-ranked archers on points over the four stages – in the compound and recurve, men’s and women’s divisions – are invited to compete in the Indoor Archery World Cup Final, held in the evening of the second day of The Vegas Shoot.

2. Circuit Champions

The four defending Indoor Archery World Cup Champions:

See full results from the 2015/16 Indoor Archery World Cup Final.

3. The Rules

Qualification: 60 arrows at a 40cm triple-spot face, 18 metres away. (The compound 10-ring is 2cm, half the size of the standard recurve 10-ring at 4cm.) Top-32 cut to the head-to-head elimination phases in each division.

Compound matchplay: 15-arrow matches over 18 metres. Best cumulative score wins. One-arrow shoot-off breaks any ties.

Recurve matchplay: Set-system over 18 metres. Each set consists of three arrows. Best score in a set wins two set points, draw awards one each. First to six set points wins. One arrow shoot-off breaks a 5-5 tie.

The match winner advances on in the brackets, loser falls out, until the gold medallist remains!

4. Sonnichsen v Tonioli

Denmark’s Sarah Sonnichsen made it to the Marrakesh final in 2015, after shooting qualification with a friend’s bow and seeding 11th. She finished second overall to Sandrine Vandionant, who won’t shoot the upcoming edition of the tournament.

Sonnichsen went on to take gold at the Indoor Archery World Cup Final and climb the podium on the outdoor circuit, too, qualifying for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final on home soil in Odense. There, with the support of a sympathetic Danish crowd, she advanced to a final against Italy’s Marcella Tonioli. The pair went to a shoot-off, tying the regulation 15 arrows, which Tonioli won – her nine closer than Sarah’s to the centre of the target.

Both Marcella and Sonnichsen are shooting in Marrakesh – and have to be favourites in a compound women’s field that’s doubled in size compared to the previous edition. Rematch?

5. Olympic medallists

Brady Ellison took recurve men’s bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – and makes his Marrakesh debut in 2016.

He’s ranked number two in the world, won the previous Indoor Archery World Cup Final, as well as the 2011/12 and 2012/13 editions, and recently became the first person to win four Hyundai Archery World Cup Finals. (The outdoor tour.)

Other Olympic medallists on the list: Aida Roman (London 2012, individual silver) and Vic Wunderle.

Wunderle came second individually and collected team bronze at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Although he didn’t climb the podium at the Games again, he did manage two more top-eight finishes in 2004 and 2008.

6. Title to reclaim

Braden Gellenthien won gold in the compound men’s competition in Marrakesh in 2013 and 2014. At the last edition, though, top-seeded Braden was stopped short in a semifinal shoot-off by Peter Elzinga – and took bronze, while World Archery Champion Stephan Hansen bagged the win.

During matchplay, Braden averaged 148.2 per match, Hansen 147.8… close but, in matchplay, it’s not the average that counts!

7. Throwback

Meet Gummi (if you didn’t before). He travels to Marrakesh with an Icelandic cohort numbering 12. We made the video above on him during the World Archery Indoor Championships at the start of 2016 – because his recurve anchor point is… different!

He’s shooting in both the recurve and compound competitions at the event.

8. Fat or thin?

Our favourite activity at the start of the indoor season is to see what the majority of recurve archers are using for indoors – fat or thin arrows. (World Archery rules stipulate the largest must be no more than 9.3mm in diameter, but normal carbon shafts are much, much less.)

Fat arrows tend to be cheaper, are wider on the face so, measured from the same centre position, catch more linecutters. Thinner arrows are faster, often better tuned – since archers have been using them during the outdoor months – and have been said to be more forgiving.

It’s usually around 50-50, fat and thin, on the podium.

9. 594

The recurve women’s world record for the indoor ranking round was finally broken during the 2015/16 season – in Nimes – by Park Sehui. It had stood at 592 for nearly seven years before then, and been equalled a countless number of times during world-class competition since 2013.

Now two points higher, will it be the same story? Regularly equalled, but not broken?

10. Podium

Last year’s gold medallists in Marrakesh:

This year? Tune in to results on and World Archery’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Footage from Marrakesh will be released in the week following the event.

The first stage of the 2016/17 Indoor Archery World Cup runs 26/27 November 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco.