Olympic stars An San, Kim Je Deok return to Korean squad in 2022
Korea has announced the roster of its national squad for 2022, following the conclusion of a week of selection trials at the international archery field in Gwangju.
Olympic triple gold medallist An San and breakout star Kim Je Deok, the youngest archer and a double gold medallist in Tokyo, both made the cut. Recent major results used to make it easier for athletes to return to the squad but major event bonuses were removed from the Korean selection process a few years ago, meaning neither had a helping hand during these trials.
Three-time and reigning World Archery Champion Kim Woojin, former world number one Kang Chae Young and the legendary Oh Jin Hyek also feature on the list of 28 athletes who will live and train at the Jincheon National Training Centre during this summer season.
“I am so happy to be selected. It was hard to maintain a leading position among the women. I’m proud of myself because my results were better than I expected,” said Chae Young, the world record holder for the 72-arrow 70-metre qualifying round, who dominated the trials process by finishing top in almost all phases.
Woojin’s lead over the recurve men was equally as commanding.
“After last year’s Olympics in Tokyo and the world championships, as well as getting married, I personally felt a little pressure going into this year. I performed better than expected and I'm happy to come out first,” he said.
“There was a period in these trials where I lost a lot of matches and I think my reflection and focus afterwards is what helped me rise to first overall. I don’t think I have much to be technically corrected but I need to work on my overall aggressiveness.”
Eight recurve archers and six compound archers of each gender were selected, the largest-ever squad after Korea added two slots for men and women in the compound group ahead of this September’s Asian Games, which will feature a full compound competition programme (individual, mixed and team events) for the first time.
The team that competes at that event and on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit will be chosen after further trials between squad members, which are due to take place in April.
Those trials will take place without Rio 2016 Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin, who had an uphill battle going into the last phase and missed out on a squad spot after finishing 14th of the 16 last recurve women in contention.
However, Choi Misun, who won Olympic team gold with Hye Jin in Brazil, did manage to climb high enough in the rankings. She was the bottom-ranked archer to survive the cut to 16 on 23 March – but finished first in competition on the penultimate day and third on the last, today, to overcome her earlier handicap and finish fifth.
Oh Jin Hyek will be answering questions of retirement for yet another season. The 40-year-old, who is now acting as both a coach and an archer for his professional team Hyundai Steel, refuses to capitulate to a niggling injury in his shoulder and, having finished these trials a close second, looks likely to extend his career through at least one more major event.
“My overall feeling remains good,” he said, while asking for continued support from the Korean public. “So I’m planning to keep going as I am.”
Korean squad for 2022
Archers listed in final trials ranking order after 26 March.
|Recurve men||Recurve women||Compound men||Compound women|
|Kim Woojin||Kang Chae Young||Yang Jaewon||Kim Yunhee|
|Oh Jin Hyek||An San||Kim Jongho||Song Yun Soo|
|Lee Seungyun||Im Si Hyeon||Choi Yonghee||So Chaewon|
|Lee Woo Seok||Lee Gahyun||Kang Dong Hyun||Oh Yoohyun|
|Kim Je Deok||Choi Misun||Kim Taeyoon||Han Seungyeon|
|Lee Seungshin||Kim Soo Rin||Yoon Young Jun||Jo Soo Ah|
|Jang Chaehwan||Jung Dasomi|
|Tak Hanwoo||Lee Eunah|