Korea’s Chang Hye Jin will not defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020

Reigning Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin has been eliminated from the selection process for the Korean team and will not defend her title at the Games in Tokyo next summer.

The 32-year-old had been a consistent member of the international squad since 2013.

As well as the Olympic title, she also finished second at the Hyundai World Archery Championships in 2017 and has podiumed 28 times in individual, team and mixed team competition on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit over the last eight seasons.

Chang finished 22nd in the second round of squad selections, which finished on 24 September 2019. Only 20 men and 20 women advanced to the next phase.

The Korean team has taken an unusual approach to selecting its team for the 2020 international season and upcoming Olympics. Recently, the eight members of the previous year’s team have competed against eight challengers for spots on the new squad.

But the team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is being selected from scratch. The 2019 team members, of which Chang was one, received no advantage.

World record holder and world number one Kang Chae Young currently leads the women in the process, followed with 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion Lee Eun Gyeong and Rio 2016 Olympian Choi Misun.

London 2012 Olympic Champion Ki Bo Bae did participate but was also eliminated early.

Lee Woo Seok, who withdrew from the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final to focus solely on making the team for the Games, sits in top position in the men’s selection. London 2012 Olympic Champion Oh Jin Hyek and two-time world champion Kim Woojin are in second and third.

Rio 2016 men’s gold medallist Ku Bonchan remains in the running.

Korea is renowned for its strength in depth due to the country’s large number of professional archery teams.

But there is significant pressure on the Korean team’s performance at the next Olympic Games. Korea won all four of archery’s gold medals in Rio in 2016 for the first time in Olympic history. There will be five gold medals available in Tokyo following the addition of the mixed team event.

Chang Hye Jin, as well as being an excellent archer, was a bright addition to the Korean squad. Her bubbly personality, infectious smiles and vocal approach to the shooting line will be missed in 2020.

Korea will hope that whoever inherits her spot on the squad will deliver in the biggest moment, just as Chang did in 2016.

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