Korean world number one Kang Chae Young wins first World Cup title in Moscow

Twenty-three-year-old Kang Chae Young beat Chinese Taipei’s Tan Ya-Ting, 6-4, to win recurve women’s gold at the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Moscow, Russia.

“This is my first World Cup Final and I’m just very happy I was able to have a good result,” said Chae Young. “It’s the first time I’m shooting as well as I am right now. I am in disbelief. I’m just honoured to be here and I’ll work hard to keep this top spot again next year.”

The end of the match was strange.

Tan Ya-Ting had jumped to an early, 3-1, lead before Kang stormed back with a pair of perfect 30s. With the score at 5-3, all the Korean archer needed was a tie for the title.

She shot 28 points in the last set but Ya-Ting had scored 29. Both archers prepared for the imminent shoot-off.

But – unexpectedly – the judge at the target signalled a winner in the Korean archer’s direction. One of Tan Ya-Ting’s 10s, in the top of the ring and with its shaft slightly obscured by a lower arrow, had been deemed out.

Arrows need only break the line of the ring to be awarded the higher value. This one hadn’t and was given as a nine.

Kang Chae Young had the tie she needed for victory and took the match, 6-4.

Having won the first two stages of the international tour in Medellin and Shanghai, Chae Young suffered a shock shoot-off loss to Chinese Taipei’s Lei Chien-Ying in the final of the world championships. The world number one is back on the top step off the podium at this last major tournament of the year.

“I wasn’t thinking about the world championships at all,” said Chae Young. “I was just focused on what I was doing and thinking, ‘let’s shoot without any regrets’.”

Kang is the sixth Korean recurve woman to become Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion.

Kwak Ye Ji won in 2009; Yun Ok Hee in 2010 and 2013; Ki Bo Bae in 2012, 2016 and 2017; Choi Misun in 2015, and Lee Eun Gyeong – who was not on the team this season – was the gold medallist in Samsun in 2018.

Tan Ya-Ting, the world number two, is still looking for that first major win. This is the closest the highly decorated 25-year-old has come to an individual gold over her decade-long international career.

“I had the bronze last year and this year I was hoping to have better results. I was hoping for gold, but silver is still good,” she said. “I was also hoping for a shoot-off with my opponent. She’s very strong, but I’m good as well. If there was a shoot-off, maybe the result would have been different.”

Zheng Yichai defeated An Qixuan in an all-China bronze medal match.

It was Qixuan’s to lose with her last arrow of the match and lose it she did, shooting a six. Yichai snatched victory with a strong 10.

The third place is a successful return to the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final for China, a nation that had not had a representative at this event since Wu Jiaxin finished fourth in Odense in 2016.

“I am very proud of China, my motherland, and I believe that more Chinese archers will participate in this kind of competition,” said Yichai.

Kang Chae Young also picked up a trophy in the recurve mixed team match. She and Kim Woojin defeated the hosts, Russia, for the fifth consecutive Korean victory.

The 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final takes place on 6-7 September in Moscow, Russia.