World #1s Schloesser, Lopez top qualifying in Gwangju

Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez seeded top in Gwangju.

Reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup Champions and current world number ones Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez seeded first at the second stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup after compound qualification completed this afternoon at the Gwangju International Archery Centre in Korea.

It was Schloesser’s fifth Hyundai Archery World Cup stage top seed in a row, after all three stages last year and Antalya last month.

“Really?” Schloesser went on to explain: “Today was not my best shooting. I felt like I had some difficulties with the wind.”

Mister Perfect shot 710 out of a possible 720 points and won a close battle for the top seed over local hero Kim Jongho and India’s Abhishek Verma by one. Schloesser and Kim were tied going into the final end of the 72-arrow round.

Mike, who has hit scores of 713-plus in every season since 2015, wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance.

“Maybe it wasn’t the best as my guessing of the wind was not on point,” he said. “But in the end, I shot good and I felt good.”

Despite coming to Gwangju as the number-one-ranked in the world and having won the first stage in Antalya, his confidence in the early parts of the tournament still needs work. It’s perhaps partly down to the new bonus points system in use this season.

“Until this year qualification didn’t matter at all. Now we get the World Cup points but before we didn’t get anything,” said Schloesser, before looking ahead to the remainder of the week. “The level in compound [archery] is so close that it doesn’t matter if you are first or 32nd. Everybody can win against everybody.”

Six-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion Sara Lopez had early troubles – but turned it around to be the only compound woman with 700-plus points on the day.

“I opened the qualification with the worst end of my life,” said the Colombian archer. She scored just 55 out of 60 with her first six arrows.

“My main goal was to be in the top eight because I’m still recovering from some technique and anxiety issues,” added Lopez, who is competing in Korea for the first time.

“I told myself ‘okay, I didn’t really make the mistakes, just have fun and work through the end’. I had fun with my team, laughing about the mistakes, because there was nothing I could do with the bad arrows. In the end, I’m really happy with the work I’ve done.”

Lopez has been vocal about her struggles last season but this year, things seem to be working better, both mentally and technically.

“I really want to say that [my troubles are behind me]. It seems that I’m getting where I want to be,” said Lopez who came in ahead of Kim Yunhee (698) of Korea in second and Dafne Quintero (697) of Mexico in third.

“Right now, I don’t want to think about medals and being number one,” she added. “It’s about getting my technique where it was and being happy, not suffering.”

“I want to enjoy my job which is archery. I didn’t have fun last year. I was suffering a lot because of pressure and everything. But I’m happy to say I’m getting closer and closer.”

Iran’s Kosar Khoshnoudikia shot a career best 696, smashing her previous competition best (677) by 19 points to seed fourth. The Iranian team – like Mexico, Korea, Japan and a few other nations – is all shooting at its first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the year.

The competition field in Gwangju.

Today’s qualifying round marked the first competition arrows of the first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage to be held in Korea since 2007. Both reigning world numbers ones, Sara and Mike, extolled the virtues of this purpose-built archery venue, which was constructed for the Universiade in 2015 (and dedicated to London 2012 Olympic Champion Ki Bo Bae.)

“The venue is beautiful and everything is well arranged,” said Schloesser. “They really know how to set up a World Cup and I’m really impressed by it. I really hope that we can come back here next year.”

Lopez was glad to make her debut in Korea.

“We weren’t sure about coming here until the very last minute so being here is just a miracle for us,” she explained.

“The venue is incredible, the country is amazing and people are very nice. It’s one of the nicest fields I’ve ever seen.”

The two individual second seeds for the home nation – taken by Kim Jongho and Kim Yunhee – marks a particularly strong showing from a host nation that has not competed on the international circuit since 2019. Korea added to that success with a clean sweep of all three team top seeds.

Competition continues with team eliminations in the morning and recurve qualification in the afternoon on Wednesday in Gwangju.

    Top seeds: Compound men

    1. Mike Schloesser, Netherlands – 710 (8 circuit ranking points)
    2. Kim Jongho, Korea – 709 62 10s (7 points)
    3. Abhishek Verma, India – 709 61 10s (7 points)
    4. Mathias Fullerton, Denmark – 708 60 10s 33 Xs (5 points)
    5. Emircan Haney, Turkey – 708 60 10s 32 Xs (5 points)
    6. Braden Gellenthien, USA – 707 59 10s 32 Xs (3 points)
    7. Jozef Bosansky, Slovakia – 707 59 10s 30 Xs (3 points)
    8. Miguel Becerra, Mexico – 707 59 10s 25 Xs (3 points)

    Top seeds: Compound women

    1. Sara Lopez, Colombia – 700 (8 circuit ranking points)
    2. Kim Yunhee, Korea – 698 (7 points)
    3. Dafne Quintero, Mexico – 697 (6 points)
    4. Kosar Khoshnoudikia, Iran – 696 (5 points)
    5. Oh Yoohyun, Korea – 695 (4 points)
    6. Ayse Bera Suzer, Turkey – 694 49 10s (3 points)
    7. Alejandra Usquiano, Colombia – 694 48 10s (3 points)
    8. Linda Ochoa-Anderson, USA – 693 (1 point)