Williams eyes World Cup Final return in pivotal year for this Olympic cycle

Jack Williams shoots in Yankton.

At just 22 years of age, Jack Williams is something of an international veteran.

He’s been shooting on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit since 2018 having debuted five years ago in Shanghai – achieving early results including a top-10 finish in his first season.

But 2021 brought his best results to date.

Williams ended the post-pandemic calendar with his first circuit trophy, taking gold at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Yankton, despite attending on a host-country invite ticket rather than qualifying outright. Hopes were high for a return to the big dance in Tlaxcala in 2022 but Jack didn’t qualify – although he came close – and sat it out.

“I wasn’t able to go to [the second stage in] Korea because I had COVID-19. Basically, being down a whole competition, I wasn’t able to qualify for the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final,” he said.

Williams made the final four at the last stage of the year, in Medellin, and needed to win to book a ticket. He finished fourth.

Sitting 11th in the Sanlida World Archery Ranking entering 2023, he’s got his sights firmly set on a return this season.

“That’s on my list for 2023, he said. “It’s unfortunate to be the reigning champion [and at home]. You want to go to defend the title, and you can’t. I was still close to making it, but barely missed out on points.”

Jack won the US national indoor finals last weekend, beating Brady Ellison in the gold medal match.

“The indoor season was pretty good, and I just keep getting ready for the first competition in April,” said Williams. We’re in that no-mans-land of a preseason right now. Indoors in the rear-view mirror, outdoors edging ever closer. “Still a little bit of time to go.”

“I always expect to do as good as I can. Given how the last season went, I’m hoping the next season will be actually a little bit better.”

There are personal goals to hit in 2023 – but, more importantly, team goals, too.

Olympic qualification starts at the Hyundai World Archery Championships this summer in Berlin. During the last cycle, for Tokyo, the US men didn’t book a team quota place until the very last chance. It’s not a situation that Williams or his teammates would wish to repeat for Paris 2024.

“US trials are starting in April. And that will qualify us for the Pan Am Games, as well as for the world championships,” said Jack.

“I want to be ready as possible and shoot well at the trials.”

Life as an international archer is a ladder of opportunity. First trials, then quota qualification, then the event itself. But think too far ahead, and an athlete will lose sight of his next step. For now, Jack’s focused on the immediate opportunity:

“To make it on the team representing the USA at the worlds an the Pan Am Games.”

The 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup starts in April in Antalya, Turkey

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