Preview: Women’s team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The Korean recurve women’s team shoots at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The second archery medal awarded at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be in the women’s team event – a competition that has historically only had one victor.

Korea has won every single recurve women’s team title at the Games.

The nation is expected to win in Tokyo again, despite Kang Chae Young, An San and Jang Minhee all having never attended an Olympics before. Perhaps that lack of experience shouldn’t be underestimated.

Especially since it is Chinese Taipei, the team that shocked Korea in the ’s-Hertogenbosch final two years ago, that arrives in Japan as world champions.

Is it finally the time to upset the winning streak, unseat the giants of women’s archery and wrestle the recurve women’s Olympic team title away from Korea?

Key information

What’s happening? The women’s team event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on 25 July 2021.

What’s at stake? An Olympic gold medal.

Who’s competing? Teams representing 12 nations.

What’s the story? The Korean women are undefeated in the team event since it was introduced in 1988. They have won eight gold medals in eight Olympics. With each victory at the Games, the pressure to extend the streak grows stronger.

Podium at Rio 2016

  1. KOR flag Korea
  2. RUS flag Russia
  3. TPE flag Chinese Taipei

World ranking (top 5)

As of the start of the Olympic Games on 23 July

  1. MEX flag Mexico
  2. RUS flag Russia
  3. ITA flag Italy
  4. IND flag India (not competing)
  5. KOR flag Korea


There's no doubt that Korea is the favourite to extend its winning streak in the women’s team event to nine consecutive Olympics. The only reason the nation is ranked outside the top spot is inactivity on the international stage, choosing to forego the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit post-pandemic in favour of preparing for the Olympics at home.

Who has the tools to knock the Korean women off the top spot? Chinese Taipei, for sure, having done so in the final of the last world championships and… that’s it. Anybody else would be a huge shock. That said, the third spot on the podium is wide open.


Nations must qualify teams for the Olympics. The host nation automatically receives a team spot.

Competition format

Teams are seeded on the combined qualifying result of the three archers. The maximum score for a team in qualifying is 2160 points, the Olympic record is 2004 (Korea) and the world record is 2053 (Korea).

Nations then shoot through head-to-head brackets, in which the winning team in each match advances and the loser is eliminated until a champion is crowned.

Team matches are decided using the set system in which the goal is to accrue five set points. Matches usually last around 25 minutes.

Each match is broken down into sets of six arrows. The teams shoot their set in two rotations of three arrows, one per archer, before alternating to the opposing team. Each nation has 120 seconds to shoot its six arrows.

Once all of the arrows in a set are shot, the nation with the highest total arrow score in that set is awarded two set points. Both nations receive one set point if the total arrow score is tied. The maximum total arrow score in a single set is 60 points.

If the nations are tied on four set points after four sets, the match is sent to a tiebreak.

Each archer shoots one arrow and the nation with the highest score wins the match. If still tied, the nation with the arrow closest to the middle of the target wins the match. (The second, and if necessary third, arrows are compared if the first are an identical distance from the middle.)