Kang leads Korean charge into final fours in Shanghai
Kang Chae Young rubber-stamped Korean dominance at the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai as she continued her fine form and led a clean sweep of recurve women’s final four places.
Fresh off helping her team reach the recurve mixed team final, Kang eased her way into the final fours and will be joined by Choi Misun, An San and Lim Sihyeon in Sunday’s semifinal line-up.
Having already reached the mixed team final earlier on Friday, Kang is now potentially three matches away from bringing two gold medals back from Shanghai.
“I’m proud of myself,” she said. “My shooting condition, my focus is what worked for me today.”
“I want to win three gold medals; but two golds would be okay.”
The 26-year-old dispatched Bryony Pitman in straight sets in their quarterfinal encounter to move into the final fours, concluding a strong day of action for her and Korean archers as a whole.
Up next for Kang is An San, a triple Olympic gold medallist from Tokyo, who has looked right at home on her Shanghai debut; having qualified in fourth spot for the elimination rounds and continually impressing in each of her encounters.
An San lost a 4-0 advantage in her quarterfinal clash against home favourite An Qixuan, but bounced back in some style, with a hard-fought 6-4 victory sealing a final fours spot – and is enjoying her first Shanghai experience.
“I’m very happy to make it to the top four today,” said the Olympic Champion. “I want to get a good result for my team.”
Confidence is clearly high across all of the Korean camp, with Choi and Lim rounding off their country’s dominance on Friday.
Choi’s run culminated in victory over world number one and Antalya World Cup stage winner Penny Healey in their quarterfinal, while Lim beat home favourite Hai Ligan – who herself had shocked second seed Peng Chia-Mao in the third round.
It was a different story in the men’s competition, with the four remaining competitors all from different countries.
Netherlands’ Steve Wijler pulled off perhaps the biggest shock of the day, upsetting top seed Brady Ellison in their quarterfinal contest, and reached the final fours alongside Oh Jin Hyek, Marcus D’Almeida and Li Zhongyuan.
Wijler was the most notable story of the day, upsetting both Mete Gazoz and Ellison on his way to a surprise final fours berth.
“I am really pleased and stoked about reaching the top four,” the Dutchman said. “It was the match against Mete that gave me the momentum.”
Wijler shot three 10s in the start, which “was a big confidence booster for the quarterfinals.”
Those victories proved the perfect tonic for the Dutchman, who took some time off after his early exit from Antalya last month to recuperate and make some small changes to his equipment.
Joining Wijler in the final fours is Korea’s Oh Jin Hyek, who matched his female compatriots with a strong day on the range.
He saved his best performance to last, easing past India’s Dhiraj Bommadevara 6-0 to set up a final four meeting against the Dutchman.
Li Zhongyuan was another surprise package in Shanghai, the world number 183 well and truly defying the odds at his home World Cup to reach the final fours.
The 20-year-old has refused to be drawn into looking too far ahead throughout the elimination stage, summoning all his fight and heart to reach Sunday’s semifinals.
“I am very excited, it feels unreal,” Li said. “My fighting spirit and belief in myself was the key to win today.”
D’Almeida awaits next, the Brazilian having conceded no more than three points in any of his four elimination matches.
“I am very happy with my result,” said the Brazilian. “Like on Wednesday, I focused on my body, my shooting was good and I feel confident.”
Action in Shanghai continues on Saturday with the individual and team compound finals.
Final fours: Shanghai 2023
The recurve medal matches are scheduled for Sunday 21 May. The archers are listed in semifinal pairs and their seed is given in brackets.
- Steve Wijler, Netherlands (24)
- Oh Jin Hyek, Korea (12)
- Li Zhongyuan, China (6)
- Marcus D’Almeida, Brazil (2)
- Kang Chae Young, Korea (1)
- An San, Korea (4)
- Choi Misun, Korea (3)
- Sihyeon Lim, Korea (10)