Healey shocks Olympic Champion on path to debut final four

Penny Healey’s reaction to making the final four.

British 17-year-old Penny Healey delivered the performance of her life on Friday afternoon in Paris, beating reigning Olympic Champion An San and former World Archery Champion Lei Chien-Ying in back-to-back matches to make her first final four at this third stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup.

“This is very emotional. I feel amazing,” said Healey, shortly after dispatching Lei with a fifth-set 30 in the quarterfinals.

“I‘m looking forward to getting a gold medal this weekend. I am just going to keep my shots and keep my process going.”

The youngster, who was the shock winner of the Indoor Archery World Series Finals in February, is joined by two other first-timers in the recurve women’s final four – Peng Chia-Mao and Agu Utano – and the gold medallist last month in Gwangju, Choi Misun.

London 2012 Olympic Champion Oh Jin Hyek, Kim Je Deok, Marcus D’Almeida and Dan Olaru comprise the recurve men’s semifinal line-up.

Across the eight remaining recurvers in the competition, only three qualified within the top 10. Top seeds fell early and often during this afternoon’s windy eliminations session.

The recurve women’s number one and two qualifiers, Korea’s Lee Gahyun and Kang Chae Young, lost in the first round.

Lee was dropped by Slovenian 64th seed Nina Corel in four sets, while Kang was plain outshot by Kazakhstan’s Alina Ilyassova, the 63rd seed, and lost in five.

“I’m really sad and disappointed,” said Lee. “I’m looking forward to Colombia next month. I feel like I’ll prepare better. I can do it.”

The Korean men fared better as Oh Jin Hyek, Kim Je Deok and Kim Woojin all made the final eight. Jin Hyek faced reigning World Archery Champion Woojin in a quarterfinal shoot-off – Woojin’s third in a row – and beat him with a better 10.

Having announced his presence with a trademark roar during last summer’s Olympics, Paris marks 18-year-old Je Deok’s first individual success.

“I feel very lucky with my result today,” he said. Although why is uncertain; he was barely threatened through four matches. “It was a good competition and I deserve to be here because I made a good performance.”

After finishing runner-up to Kim Woojin at the worlds in Yankton at the end of last season, Brazil’s Marcus D’Almeida returns to the finals arena.

The man with the moustache fought hard in a quarterfinal against Olympic Champion Mete Gazoz. Down 2-0, then 4-2, it was a windy fifth-set decider that sent the talented 24-year-old into the semifinals. Gazoz’s first shot got caught by the wind and landed wide right in the seven. D’Almeida won the set by one point.

“I am happy with my job and to win against an Olympic Champion,” said Marcus. “I shot against many good archers today. I didn’t shoot any 30s but I still managed to hit the yellow. In archery, if you have the patience to try and improve each time it is very likely that you win.” 

France was very close to having a recurve archer in the arena at Chateau de Vincennes, after impressive results from its compound squad.

Eighty-sixth seed Pierre Plihon scythed his way up the brackets and was still alive in the recurve men’s last eight, upsetting former Youth Olympic Champion Lee Woo Seok in a shoot-off in the second round in the process. (Woo Seok shot a seven.)

The unlikely run only came to an end when Pierre was beaten by Dan Olaru in the quarters. This time the Frenchman shot a tiebreak seven, before turning and shrugging to the French support crowded behind.

Competition continues in Paris with compound finals on Saturday.

Final fours: Paris 2022

The recurve medal matches are scheduled for Sunday 26 June. The archers are listed in semifinal pairs and their seed is given in brackets.

Recurve men

Recurve women