Kim Woojin wins third career world championship in Yankton

Woojin celebrates world title in Yankton.

Korea’s Kim Woojin beat Marcus D’Almeida to recurve men’s gold and his third world title after 2011 and 2015 at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships in Yankton.

“I’m really happy. It really has taken a long time to get here right now. I’m really happy and honoured to be here,” said Woojin.

He is the third man and the fourth archer in history to win three world titles.

Janina Kurkowska won five in the early years of the event (1933, 1934, 1936, 1939 and 1947), Hans Deutgen followed with four consecutive in 1947-1950, when the championship was held annually, and Rick McKinney collected three in 1977, 1983 and 1985.

A decade on from his first crown, Woojin’s achievement is remarkable in the modern era of the sport, in which head-to-head matchplay decides the champion – rather than a single round and overall score.

He was asked how the result places himself in the pantheon of great archers. His answer was spirited.

“I don’t consider myself the best archer in the world, because I’m not retired yet. I’m looking forward to winning more and more. When I retire, then I could be saying I’m the best archer in the world,” Woojin said.

He is still only 29 years old.

Having qualified top on a windy day in Yankton, Woojin’s campaign for a third title stuck into gear with a four-set quarterfinal victory over Galsan Bazarzhapov. He then outlasted Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz in a five-setter in the semis, finishing the match with a perfect 10 to prevent a shoot-off.

In the final against D’Almeida, Woojin jumped to an early lead, winning the first two sets.

His young Brazilian opponent, who was crowned under-18 world champion in this very city six years ago, recovered with a perfect 30 in the third – and then they split the set points in the fourth. Woojin had the advantage, 5-3.

At the end of the fifth and final set, Marcus, who had been so impressive, shot an eight. He walked off the line and knew it was over. Kim, with two 10s in the target, needed a seven to end it. He shot a nine and raised his arms to the sky.

Marcus’s silver medal is Brazil’s first-ever podium at the world championships.

“I worked hard. It’s what I said in Tokyo, that I felt I was on the path,” said D’Almeida. “When I came back from Japan, my whole family watched the Olympics together and my grandmother was very sad with my loss. Today I’m here with her. My nan is 90 years old and I don’t ever want to see her sad. This victory is for her.”

Defending world champion Brady Ellison beat Gazoz to the bronze medal, 6-2.

“I’m pretty excited. Back to back world championships, bringing home two different medals, pretty cool,” he said. “This is my 20th world championship medal… so I’m pretty excited to hit that mark.”

The recurve men’s podium is the same as the top of the qualifying leaderboard. The top three seeds ended up in the medal positions.