Dutch men set European record despite Sjef’s shoulder injury

Despite not shooting in the week leading up to Antalya thanks to an ailing shoulder, Sjef van den Berg pulled a 681-point 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round out of the bag at the second stage of the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup. It was good enough for the recurve men’s fifth seed and led the Dutch men’s team to a new European qualifying record.

Sjef, Steve Wijler (679) and Jan van Tongeren (665)’s combined total of 2025 points was eight more than the previous continental best, shot by another Netherlands team, of which Sjef is the only returning member, in Shanghai in 2016.

“I think all of us could have done even better. Steve did really well; he shot a new personal best for World Archery events, I think,” said Sjef.

“Jan had some struggles in the end and I had my struggles obviously, so I think there’s even more in the tank and I think it’s really nice that we have the record, even though we’re not at our best yet.”

It wasn’t certain until the last moment whether Sjef would even shoot the ranking round.

“My shoulder is not very good at the moment. I have an inflammation,” he explained.

“Lifting up my bow hurts, without the bow even. In anchor it hurts to extend, so I’ve been doing a lot of extending with my fingers instead of with my shoulder, but I managed to make it work today.”

So, in less-than-ideal physical condition and with limited practice time under his belt, Sjef dropped just 39 points in 72 arrows. How, exactly?

”I have no idea,” he said. 

“I just aimed in the middle and prayed. I didn’t do anything special except just shoot.”

The second stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place in Antalya, Turkey on 20-26 May.