What is the Hyundai Archery World Cup? Facts, figures and schedule

Updated on 1 April 2023 for the current season.

Launched in 2006, the Hyundai Archery World Cup is archery’s annual international elite competition circuit for athletes representing their national teams.

It consists of four stages (except in an Olympic year) and a grand final, where only the best archers from across the season are invited to compete. They qualify by either winning a stage or accruing enough ranking points with consistently high finishes. The four individual winners at the final are awarded the title of Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion.

There are two bowstyles featured on the tour: recurve, which is the Olympic discipline, and compound, also seen at the World Games. Each stage of the circuit offers five medals to each bowstyle: men’s individual, women’s individual, men’s team, women’s team and mixed team.

The Hyundai Archery World Cup Final is a purely individual event.

Finals at each stage of the tour are broadcast worldwide and the circuit offers the largest prize purse of any international tournament, which totals more than 400,000 CHF in 2023.

Schedule: 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup

Event Dates City Country
Stage 1 18-23 April Antalya TUR flag Türkiye
Stage 2 16-21 May Shanghai CHN flag China
Stage 3 13-18 June Medellin COL flag Colombia
Stage 4 15-20 August Paris FRA flag France
Final 9-10 September Hermosillo MEX flag Mexico

By the numbers

Thirty-two archers compete at each Hyundai Archery World Cup Final, eight in each of the four individual 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 2023), up to four are given to stage winners – although this decreases if any archer wins multiple events – and the remainder of the spots are awarded on the Hyundai Archery World Cup Ranking after the fourth stage of the season.

This is the 17th 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 is the winningest archer in the history of the tour, having collected a record seventh Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion trophy in 2022, pulling her one ahead of Brady Ellison who has five. The pair also lead the stage wins leaderboard with 11 and 10, respectively.

Each individual Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion will collect 30,000 CHF in 2022.

Sara Lopez (left) and Brady Ellison (right) lead the Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion leaderboard.

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 and consistency of athletes on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit can be quite mind-boggling. While an arrow might travel 70 metres downrange, flying in an arc that lifts it six metres above the ground, and be moved by gusts of wind, 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, however, some key visible indicators to watch out for. Rhythm is very important in the sport, so the length of time an archer spends aiming can reveal a lot about the pressure they’re feeling. The release is the most critical part of an archer’s process – so if it’s not calm and controlled, it’s likely something is wrong. An elite archer is so in-tune with their technique that, often, the reaction on their face at the moment the arrow leaves the bow says just as much as the points the arrow scores when it hits 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 Antalya, Türkiye.