Lisa Unruh will not defend her World Cup title in 2022

Lisa Unruh wins the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final

Last year was a good year for German shooter Lisa Unruh.

She not only collected a bronze medal in the recurve women’s team event at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games but then finished the season by taking her first-ever Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion title in Yankton, USA.

Her place in the season-ending showpiece event came not directly via a stage win – but by having amassed enough ranking points with consistent finishes.

In any Olympic year, the Hyundai World Archery Cup circuit features three, instead of its normal four, stages and Unruh appeared in all of them.

The season opener, held in Guatemala City, saw her lose out to Valentina Vazquez in the third round (4-6). Then in Lausanne, a semifinal loss against Svetlana Dashanimaeva and bronze defeat to Audrey Adiceom saw her finish fourth in stage two. 

In Paris, for the third and final stage, Ana Vazquez defeated her with a comprehensive 6-0 victory in the quarterfinal.

Each result saw Unruh climb up the rankings until, finally, she was awarded a ranking ticket to Yankton. There, she made the most of her opportunity, seeing off Mackenzie Brown in the quarterfinals (6-4) and German teammate Michelle Kroppen by the same score in the semis, before delivering a near-perfect shoot-off arrow against Elena Osipova, with her 10 sealing the title.

“I had a really, really good feeling about my shots this day and everything went well for me,” says Unruh, reflecting on her podium-topping performance in the USA. “I was relaxed and pretty confident against all my opponents. I was very happy and it was a good end of the year for me – I learnt to believe in myself and never give up.”

It was a unique year for Yankton, too, with the Hyundai World Archery Championships taking place on the same field as the subsequent Hyundai Archery World Cup Final, with many of the athletes present competing in both.

However, Unruh flew out just for the World Cup Final, missing out on the world championships due to taking a more active role in her career in the German police, something which is increasingly becoming a larger part of her life and which has its own rewards.

“I had my police education and was focused on my exams,” says Unruh, reflecting on life since the win.

“I have been a police officer since 2014 but in the last six months, I did a career advancement. In Germany, the police structure has three levels and I was on the ‘lowest’ one. I passed my exams and now I am a kommissar [inspector].”

The Hyundai Archery World Cup remains close to Unruh’s heart, but with an intense calendar in 2021 and that burgeoning police career taking priority in 2022, the 33-year-old will be taking a little bit more time out from the sport this year.

“I will not be competing on the World Cup circuit,” she explains. “I was very happy to see all of my friends again and we were all very happy to compete last year, following the year of corona in 2020.”

So unless she (and her German team) has a change of heart, we’ll have a new recurve women’s champion on the international circuit in 2022. The Hyundai Archery World Cup starts next week in Antalya.