Youngest archer in Tokyo seeds top in men’s event

Kim Je Deok celebrates top seed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Korean 17-year-old Kim Je Deok beat out his experienced teammates and pipped world number one Brady Ellison to pole over men’s individual qualifying at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“This is just the beginning. My goal for the Olympics is to win the teams event, but even if I fail to that, my goal is to show everything that I’ve been doing so far,” he said. “The most important thing was the confidence that I build up in myself.”

The youngest archer on the field in Tokyo finished the round with a perfect end of 60 points.

“I shot five 10s and then I thought, well, at least it’ll be a nine, and I think that helped me get a 10,” he explained. 

Je Deok took an early lead in the event and never looked under threat, totalling 688 points for the 72-arrow round and coming in six points clear of the field.

Ellison, who took second, surged from seventh place at the half with a field-leading back half.

London 2012 Olympic Champion Oh Jin Hyek seeded third, with 681 with Kim Woojin just behind on 680.

Muto Hiroki produced the biggest result for host Japan, ranking fifth on 678.

The Korean recurve men, with three individuals in the top four, took a clear top seed in the team event. They receive a bye into the quarterfinals alongside the Netherlands, China and Japan.

Reigning Olympic silver medallist Jean-Charles Valladont struggled on the field.

The world number 18 shot far too many sevens to mount any kind of challenge to the leaderboard and seeded just 57th. His French teammates didn’t fare much better and the team, which was an impressive last-minute qualifier, ranked last of the 12 teams in Tokyo.

This is the first time since 2008 that the men’s world record has not been broken at the Olympics. (But twice in a row was impressive already!)

Top qualifiers: Recurve men

  1. Kim Je Deok, Korea – 688
  2. Brady Ellison, USA – 682
  3. Oh Jin Hyek, Korea – 681
  4. Kim Woojin, Korea – 680
  5. Muto Hiroki, Japan – 678
  6. Steve Wijler, Netherlands – 675
  7. Wei Shaoxuan, China – 674
  8. Sjef van den Berg, Netherlands – 670
  9. Denis Gankin, Kazakhstan – 669 (34 10s)
  10. Mete Gazoz, Turkey – 669 (32 10s)

Qualification: Recurve men’s teams

  1. KOR flag Korea – 2049
  2. NED flag Netherlands – 2012
  3. CHN flag China – 2011
  4. JPN flag Japan – 1988
  5. USA flag USA – 1987
  6. TPE flag Chinese Taipei – 1985
  7. INA flag Indonesia – 1979
  8. KAZ flag Kazakhstan – 1973
  9. IND flag India – 1961
  10. GBR flag Great Britain – 1959
  11. AUS flag Australia – 1949
  12. FRA flag France – 1941