China's recurves flex their muscles at Asia Cup qualification
China's recurve teams made a big impact on qualification at stage 3 of the 2023 Asia Cup in Singapore, with the men's team finishing in first place above Korea, and the women's team placing second, just a single point behind Korea's women. China have also seeded top – again, ahead of Korea – in the recurve mixed team event due to take place on Friday.
It is very rare that Korea's recurve teams are not seeded first in any international event they take part in, but China have sent their frontline 'first team' to this event, while Korea have sent a youthful team with less experience. (At the upcoming Medellin Hyundai Archery World Cup, the situation will be reversed).
Nevertheless, it was a big statement of intent from a nation that has already made its impact felt on this year's Hyundai World Cup circuit, after a quiet couple of years internationally. China missed out on Olympic medals at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, and has invested heavily in archery talent on the road to Paris next year.
The 26-year-old Qi Xiangshuo has been very much part of the Chinese men's World Cup success in 2023, and qualified in first place individually with 683, in hot and humid conditions. "I feel that my overall performance today was consistent and solid." he said.
"In the second half I had a bit of a rough start. However, I started to focus on self-adjustment, slowing down my pace and gradually stabilising. After a few adjustments, I found myself improving steadily."
"My goal for this year is the World Championships, and I hope to secure a spot in the Olympics successfully."
Korea's 18-year-old Jo Suhye, whose only previous international experience was at an Asia Cup stage in the UAE last year, finished top of the women's recurve field with 674, a single point ahead of Jo Hanyi, also of Korea and just 15 years old.
The seeding will likely set up some major Korea v China battles in the last eight of the individual competition, and it seems likely we will see the same nations involved in the team competitions on finals day.
On the compound side, Iran's Mohammadsaleh Palizban topped the men's field with 714, a personal best and apparently a national record. The experienced international said: "The best thing is that I managed to focus on my goal and shoot very good after nine years." Korea's Oh Yoohyun topped the women's list, just ahead of compatriots Cho Su A and Song Yun Soo.
The competition continues with individual eliminations on Wednesday.