Breakthrough athlete Wijler also named recurve man of 2017
The Netherland’s Steve Wijler was the big story as World Archery’s Athlete of the Year Award winners for 2017 were announced during the 2018 Indoor Archery World Cup Final in Las Vegas, USA on 10 February.
As well as being named breakthrough athlete of the year for winning his first-ever Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Shanghai, Wijler was also named the recurve men’s athlete of the year for a season that saw him also podium at the Hyundai World Archery Championships and climb to fourth in the world rankings.
“I didn’t expect to win at all. I saw all those big names and I thought I’d never win it, so to do so is just awesome,” said Wijler. “I hope I deserve it. The public seem to think so.”
After nominations are received from federations, the athletes of the year are voted on by a combination of public poll and expert panels. Over 72,000 public votes were cast for the 2017 awards.
Here are the results in full.
Winner: Steve Wijler, Netherlands
A debut season at 21 years of age saw Steve Wijler win the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Shanghai, come third at the worlds in Mexico City and finish the year ranked fourth in the world.
Winner: Lisa Unruh, Germany
Olympic silver medallist Lisa Unruh beat out World Cup Final winner Ki Bo Bae and World Archery Champion Ksenia Perova to this second award in a row thanks to her win at the World Games in Wroclaw.
Winner: Stephan Hansen, Denmark
The world’s number one ranked compound man took gold at the World Games and was one shoot-off arrow away from winning his second World Archery Championship title in a row in Mexico City.
Winner: Sara Lopez, Colombia
A third Athlete of the Year award in a row for Lopez, who wasn’t as dominant as in past years in 2017, but still took gold at the World Games and finished the season ranked number two in the world.
Winner: Alberto Simonelli, Italy
Simonelli performed both on the para circuit and as part of the Italian able-bodied team in 2017, coming extremely close to making an individual final on the World Cup circuit and representing Italy in the mixed team event at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Rome.
Winner: Zahra Nemati, Iran
After reclaiming her World Archery Para Champion in Beijing in October, two-time Paralympic Champion Nemati reclaimed this Athlete of the Year title for the second season in a row.
Winner: Ron van der Hoff, Netherlands
Nominated: Natalia Valeeva, Italy; Ni Ta-Chi, Chinese Taipei; Stanislav Popov, Russia; Richard Priestman, Great Britain
Coach of double award winner Steve Wijler, Ron van der Hoff is contracted to lead the Dutch international squad through the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
World Archery Awards have been presented annually since 2014 to athletes and officials for exceptional performance or contribution to the sport.