Way too early 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup predictions

France's Lisa Barbelin in Hyundai Archery World Cup 2021 action

The international outdoor circuit is about to take centre stage – and this year’s tour promises to be one to remember.

In 2022, the Hyundai Archery World Cup visits Antalya, Gwangju, Paris and Medellin for its four stages, before finishing with the season highlight in the historic Mexican city of Tlaxcala – host of the 16th Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

Jack Williams, Lisa Unruh, Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez enter the year as reigning circuit champions.

Come October, they’ll have to either defend their titles or surrender them to challengers, yet to emerge.

Before the year’s first competition arrow is shot, we’ve spoken to the following panel of experts – who make a living out of observing, reporting and analysing the sport – to see who they think will shine on the Hyundai Archery World Cup in 2022.

  • Dean Alberga, international archery photographer
  • Nicky Hunt, live broadcast analyst
  • John Stanley, journalist and editor of Bow International magazine
  • Ludivine Maitre Wicki, journalist
  • George Tekimitchov, host of the Easton target podcast

John Stanley

Circuit champions: Florian Unruh, Michelle Kroppen, Nico Wiener and Sara Lopez

This is Germany’s time to shine. I like giant-killer and recent Olympic quarterfinalist Florian Unruh to finally do some damage on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit in 2022, turning last year’s top 10 finishes into podiums. Although as a field champion, he will have one eye (or both) on Yankton [for the world fields] in September, too.

Meanwhile, to complete the mixed pairing, Michelle Kroppen has developed into an archery machine over the last year and looks like the premier European challenger for a World Cup title. 

I hope to see more from reigning World Archery Champion Nico Wiener in the compound men’s results lists. But, in women’s competition, it’s Sara Lopez’s world. We just live in it. There’s still no one with any kind of record against her that suggests it's going to be anyone else this year, especially with the absence of Jyothi Surekha Vennam. The greatest of all time only has to turn up.

Ludivine Maitre Wicki

Circuit champions: Mete Gazoz, An San, Mathias Fullerton and Ella Gibson

After winning bronze last year, I see Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz being the recurve man to beat in 2022 and ripe for a first Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit title, in what would be his fourth appearance at the season finale. Nicholas D’Amour, though, has been edging towards his first podium. His ‘worst’ result on tour last year was sixth.

What if this season was his?

Olympic Champion An San remains the clear favourite in the recurve women’s category. But why not back double European champion – indoor and outdoor – Lisa Barbelin to challenge Korean supremacy this year?

There are up-and-coming challengers in the compound events. Nico Wiener, the world champ, and world number two Mathias Fullerton will have high hopes after making strides in 2021. They’ll have to overcome the experienced old guard, consistently represented by Mike Schloesser and Braden Gellenthien.

Ella Gibson has shown this year that she is capable of hitting the very highest heights – and has developed a winning attitude. It will be tested this year at the business end of major tournaments, and she may be able to push firmly into the favourites. But she might not be the only breakthrough, especially now Turkish archery is buoyed by Mete’s Tokyo result. 

I suspect we may see some other Turkish archers, such as compounder Yakup Yildiz start moving into the spotlight. When you know it’s possible, you can do it.

Nicky Hunt
Broadcast analyst

Circuit champions: Mete Gazoz, Lisa Barbelin, Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez

Sara Lopez is on form and going strong so she has to be favourite for a seventh title – and finals event doesn’t really happen in this era without an appearance from Mister Perfect, Mike Schloesser. He’s won the tour in back-to-back seasons, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did so again in 2022.

Lisa Barbelin’s energy and determination make her a favourite, while Mete Gazoz is the recurve man to beat. The Olympic Champion will be looking to add Hyundai Archery World Cup glory to his collection, having won bronze in 2021.

Watch out for British compounder Ella Gibson. She’s shot some blinding scores in qualification, but I think 2022 will be when Ella converts this into podiums. She’s started the year well indoors, taking gold at the Europeans.

Can she bring that form to the World Cup circuit, too?

Dean Alberga

Circuit champions: Brady Ellison, Kang Chae Young, Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez

Brady Ellison missed out on his sixth title on his home soil last year. I reckon he will not be fooled again and return to the finals with a vengeance.

I don’t think I’ve ever picked the recurve women’s winner right. There were a lot of women who had a great season last year: Casey Kaufhold, Lisa Barbelin, Michelle Kroppen, Alejandra Valencia, just to name a few. I will go with Kang Chae Young, the former world number one who’s displayed such talent, and match savvy, on the circuit – and is still only 25 years old.

Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez are still the pair to beat. I know, I know, it’s a cop-out. But I don’t think I need to justify my choice as many would agree with me. Lopez is still as hungry as ever and will continue to solidify her legacy as the best ever.

George Tekmitchov

A number of nations, particularly the USA, Korea and Mexico, are not sending their top squads to Antalya. We’ll need to wait until the second stop Gwangju to get a clearer picture of the landscape.

I’ll hold off on my predictions – and just highlight a couple of the less-mentioned names I’m watching at the season opener.

JP Boulch, the French gentle giant, is on the start list in Turkey, as is Ella Gibson – and Sarah Prieels, who’s arguably at the peak of her powers. Toja Ellison, who was runner-up to GOAT Sara Lopez at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in 2022, is also a strong contender.

Nobody’s mentioning reigning circuit champion Jack Williams in the recurve men’s event. He may have qualified for last year’s final on a host nation invitation, but the result wasn’t a fluke.

With a number of the big recurve women’s names not on the slate at the season opener, it’s an open opportunity for the European contingent. Audrey Adiceom, Michelle Kroppen, Gaby Schloesser and last summer’s Olympic bronze medallist Lucilla Boari all have the ability to medal. Kroppen took a podium spot at the final in 2021 – but may well vault higher this season.

Competition at the first stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup starts with compound qualification on Tuesday.