Steve Wijler wants to repeat Tokyo’s success in Paris

Steve Wijler shooting.


Steve Wijler and Gaby Schloesser collected silver in the first-ever mixed team event held at the Olympics in Tokyo 2020

The 26-year-old now hopes for another chance to fight for medals at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. But for that, Netherlands still needs to book quota places, a feat not done yet.

“It would be a big thing,” Wijler said. “For us, recurve athletes, the Olympics are the best you can get, it’s the highest level you can go to.”

“I was in Tokyo, and I got a medal there. I really would like to repeat it.”

The Dutch pair put in a stunning performance at just the right moment three years ago.

They only lost only to the Korean duo of Kim Je Deok and An San, which did not come as a surprise-winner giving the nation’s dominance over the years.

Wijler had already competed eleven times in international mixed team events, but had never finished higher than ninth.

His first podium finally came at the pinnacle event of the sport.

The Olympics in Tokyo were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and when they finally happened, no fans could attend the competitions. 

Now that the pandemic is behind, and Paris is only five hours away from the Netherlands, the Dutch archers can count on the support of their fans more than ever this time.

“Of course, it was a really nice feeling to be there,” Wijler said. “But there were no spectators, and it wasn’t as fun as it should haven been, so I’m really looking forward to the second chance.”

Featuring in two medal matches – mixed team gold and men’s team bronze – Wijler avoids giving it a special meaning, though.

“For me, the Olympics is just another competition,” Wijler claimed. “Of course, we all want to get there, but shooting there is still 70 metres, the same as at other events.”

“It’s still a competition, and there are a lot of things going on around.”

Wijler and Schloesser won only the third Olympic medal in archery for the Netherlands, the the first since Wietse van Alten‘s bronze in Sydney 2000

Beforehand, the nation had a long drought spanning 80 years. In 1920 in Antwerp, the Dutch team won gold in an event in times when archers aimed to artificial birds!

The feedback on the Tokyo success went even beyond Steve’s expectations.  

“Eventually, it meant a lot,” he explained. “I didn’t expect it would have such an impact on the sports community.”

“If you become a World Champion, nobody really cares. Of course, in the world of archery, everybody knows it, that’s a big thing, but it doesn’t even get to a newspaper.”

“Going to the Olympics and getting a medal there is exactly what it does over there. It just makes a little more sense to win.”

The publicity Steve and Gaby’s medal received, impacted archery and was a positive boost. 

“It did make the sport grow a little, and that’s what I try to do,” Wijler added. “I’m happy I could contribute a little to that.” 

He makes no secret of what motivates him the most.

“Mostly results, I’m really result-minded,” the Dutch archer admitted. “For me, it only matters if you win.”

Crowned the Indoor Archery World Series Champion in early 2023 and winner of two stages on the indoor circuit this winter, in Lausanne and Luxembourg, Steve now aims to repeat big results in 2024.

With sights set on Paris this summer.

And for that to happen, the next – and last – chances left to qualify Olympic spots come soon: at the European Outdoor Championships and continental qualifier in Essen in next week and at the final world qualification tournament in Antalya in June.