Korean recurves sweep qualification in French capital

Kim Woojin – the number one qualifier in Paris.

Kim Woojin (694) and Lee Gahyun (675) qualified first in the individual events as Korea secured all five number one seeds in the recurve competitions at the third stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Paris, France.

“It’s my first time competing in Paris and I’m just very happy that I was able to shoot well,” said three-time and reigning World Archery Champion Woojin. “The competition doesn’t end with qualifications so I’ll do my absolute best as we go into eliminations and for the rest of the competition.”

Gahyun said the wind, blowing left to right, was harder to figure out than it appeared, moving arrows four full scoring rings on the target despite feeling fairly calm. “I was able to shoot better than Gwangju because I was more relaxed this time,” she added.

Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz paced the recurve men for much of the first half of qualifying. Ultimately, though, it was Woojin’s incomparable consistency over the whole 72 arrows that delivered the ninth pole of his career and his first on the circuit since Berlin in 2017.

The score puts Kim over 690 points for the eighth consecutive season – by far the most of any archer in history.

Gazoz still delivered a respectable 685, good for the fourth seed behind Woojin and his Korean teammate Kim Je Deok (689), and Olympic runner-up Mauro Nespoli (686) of Italy. But Mete wasn’t happy.

“I feel upset, angry. I can shoot better than today,” said the world number four. “It is still good but it can be better. The only thing I have to focus on is my technique. I can do it.”

Current world number one Miguel Alvarino came in fifth on 683 points. 

Recurve women’s qualifying in Charlety stadium came down to a four-way scrap in the final end between eventual top qualifier Lee Gayhun, her Korean teammates Kang Chae Young and An San, and last year’s world championship runner-up Casey Kaufhold of the USA.

Kaufhold led with two ends to shoot, dropped to second before the final six arrows and then leaked a seven to eventually land fourth on 673 points.

That allowed Kang Chae Young and An San to leapfrog ahead of Kaufhold, both finishing with one point more, and Gahyun to secure the first top seed of her career in only her second event on the top Korean team.

“What I always think about is that I focus more on the team rounds than the individuals,” she said. “Even though I will try to do my best individually, I’ll do everything I can for teams.”

Lee, An and Choi Misun took team gold last month in Gwangju and the 25th stage win in team history.

Kaufhold talked about keeping her mental game in check after the round. 

“I didn‘t have the best finish ever but overall my good ends balanced my bad ends,” she added. “This is the biggest World Cup so far this year so to finish fourth, I’m pretty happy with it.”

With five of the top six individual qualifiers, Korea comfortably took all three top seeds in the team events.

Two of the three second-placed squads in qualification were the new European Champions from Munich just over a week ago: Italy’s recurve men and Germany’s recurve women.

The USA seeded second in the recurve mixed team event, thanks to Casey and a season-best 680 points and the sixth seed from five-time recurve men’s circuit champion Brady Ellison, who won in Paris last year. He said he had “a lot of good ends, a lot of bad ends” but “felt like it is [sic] a step in the right direction”.

European Champion Gulnaz Coskun of Turkey shot 666 points to qualify seventh in the recurve women’s event, one point behind Chinese Taipei’s former World Archery Champion Lei Chien-Ying

Deepika Kumari, who won three gold medals here in 2021, seeded just 37th.

There was no cut in the recurve men’s event due to the high number of entries but the recurve women’s field lost 17 archers after qualifying. A score of 613 points was needed to advance to the matchplay brackets.

Competition continues in Paris with recurve team eliminations on Thursday morning followed by compound eliminations in the afternoon.

Top seeds: Recurve men

  1. Kim Woojin, Korea – 694 (8 circuit ranking points)
  2. Kim Je Deok, Korea – 689 (7 points)
  3. Mauro Nespoli, Italy – 686 (6 points)
  4. Mete Gazoz, Turkey – 685 (5 points)
  5. Miguel Alvarino, Spain – 683 (4 points)
  6. Brady Ellison, USA – 680 (3 points)
  7. Steve Wijler, Netherlands – 678 37 10s (2 points)
  8. Oh Jin Hyek, Korea – 678 36 10s (2 points)
  9. Federico Musolesi, Italy – 678 35 10s (2 points)
  10. Tang Chih-Chun, Chinese Taipei – 678 33 10s (2 points)

Top seeds: Recurve women

  1. Lee Gahyun, Korea – 675 (8 circuit ranking points)
  2. Kang Chae Young, Korea – 674 34 10s (7 points)
  3. An San, Korea – 674 32 10s (7 points)
  4. Casey Kaufhold, USA – 673 (5 points)
  5. Choi Misun, Korea – 671 (4 points)
  6. Lei Chien-Ying, Chinese Taipei – 667 (3 points)
  7. Gulnaz Coskun, Turkey – 666 (2 points)
  8. Katharina Bauer, Germany – 665 31 10s (1 point)
  9. Gaby Schloesser, Netherlands – 665 29 10s 11 Xs (1 point)
  10. Anastasia Pavlova, Ukraine – 665 29 10s 7 Xs (1 point)