Guide to the Hyundai Archery World Cup: Facts, figures and schedule

Updated on 1 April 2024 for the current season.

The Hyundai Archery World Cup is archery’s annual international tournament circuit, featuring the best athletes representing their nations in elite competition, which takes place in a series of destination cities around the globe.

It was launched in 2016 and enters its 18th season in 2024.

This year’s calendar consists of three stages (one less than normal as it is an Olympic year) and a grande final, where only the best archers are invited to compete. Athletes qualify by winning a stage, accruing points towards the World Cup Ranking or – this year – winning the Olympics.

Winners at the final are awarded the title of Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion.

The tour features two bowstyles – recurve, which is the Olympic discipline, and compound – and stages also host competitions for teams and mixed teams.

Finals are broadcast worldwide on archery+ and the circuit offers the largest prize purse of any international tournament, which totals more than 400,000 CHF. Each Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion will collect 30,000 CHF in 2024.

Schedule: 2024 Hyundai Archery World Cup

Stage 123-28 AprilShanghai China
Stage 221-26 MayYecheon Korea
Stage 318-23 JuneAntalya Türkiye
Final19-20 OctoberTlaxcala Mexico

By the numbers

Thirty-two archers compete at each Hyundai Archery World Cup Final, eight in each of the four competition categories: recurve men, recurve women, compound men and compound women.

One of those eight spots is reserved for an archer from the host nation (which is Mexico in 2024), up to three are given to stage winners – although this decreases if any archer wins multiple events – and one is reserved in each of the recurve events for the 2024 Olympic Champion. 

The remainder of the spots are awarded on the Hyundai Archery World Cup Ranking after the last stage of the season.

This is the 18th season of the Hyundai Archery World Cup. The tour has been held annually since 2006, except in 2020 when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sara Lopez (Colombia) is the winningest archer in the history of the tour, having collected a record eighth Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion trophy in 2023, the next closest is Brady Ellison (USA) on five. The pair also top the individual stage wins leaderboard with 11 and 10, respectively. 

Retired compound archer Braden Gellenthien (USA) has accrued the most podiums across all events (including team and mixed team) with 67.

Sara Lopez and Brady Ellison.

Competition format

On the Hyundai Archery World Cup, recurve archers compete over a distance of 70 metres and shoot at targets measuring 122 centimetres in diameter, while compound archers compete over a distance of 50 metres and shoot at targets measuring 80 centimetres in diameter.

Each stage of the circuit begins with a qualifying round of 72 arrows and the total result is used to seed athletes (and teams) for eliminations matches.

These play out in a head-to-head bracket, the winner of each match advancing and the loser being eliminated until just four archers remain. The final four in each category then compete for the stage victory in the televised arena. (Team finals are also broadcast.)

The Hyundai Archery World Cup Final is a matchplay event and there is no qualifying round.

Instead, the eight archers who qualify in each category are put into a random draw to decide the seedings and they shoot a televised head-to-head bracket, from quarterfinals to final, to decide who will be named Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion.

Session schedule at stages

Day Morning session Afternoon session
Tuesday (day 1) Practice Compound qualification
Wednesday (day 2) Compound team eliminations Recurve qualification
Thursday (day 3) Recurve team eliminations Compound eliminations
Friday (day 4) Mixed team eliminations Recurve eliminations
Saturday (day 5) Compound team finals (televised) Compound final fours (televised)
Sunday (day 6) Recurve team finals (televised) Recurve final fours (televised)

Matchplay rules

Recurve matches are decided using the set system. Archers shoot sets of three arrows and the archer with the highest score in the set receives two set points; both are awarded one set point if the set is tied. The first to six set points wins the match.

(Recurve team matches work in almost the same way. Teams shoot six arrows per set and mixed teams shoot four arrows per set. The first team or mixed team to five set points wins the match.)

Compound matches are decided using cumulative scoring. Archers shoot 15 arrows, split into five ends of three, and the archer with the highest total points score wins the match.

(Compound team matches work in almost the same way except teams shoot 24 arrows, split into four ends of six, and mixed teams shoot 16 arrows, split into four ends of four.)

The most exciting moment in archery is a tiebreak or single-arrow shoot-off. This occurs when two recurve archers are tied on five set points after five sets or when two compound archers are tied on total score after 15 arrows. Each archer shoots one arrow and the archer whose arrow lands closest to the middle of the target wins the match.

Draw, aim, shoot

Despite the significant distances involved, archery is a sport of exceptionally small margins.

The accuracy of athletes on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit is mind-boggling. While an arrow might travel 70 metres downrange (for recurve, compound is 50 metres), flying in an arc that lifts it up to six metres above the ground, a millimetre on the target can make all the difference.

Much of archery is a mental game and the physical differences from each arrow to each arrow can be minuscule – although critical.

There are key visible indicators to watch out for. Rhythm, release and reaction tell the story of each shot. The time an archer takes to aim reveals the pressure they’re feeling, the moment the arrow leaves the bow shows if they’re in control and often, the look on an athlete’s face when the shot is in the air says just as much as the points it scores on the target.

Archery boils down to: Draw, aim and shoot. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It’s not.

The international season begins in April with the first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai, China.