Kaufhold pips world #1 to top seed at world youth championships

Casey Kaufhold shoots at the world youth championships.

Competition at the 2023 World Archery Youth Championships began on Tuesday at the University of Limerick with qualification for all eight individual categories competing across the under-21 and under-18 age groups.

The older athletes took to the field in the morning – under better weather – as reigning world number one Penny Healey, who won the European Games only last week, and the USA’s Casey Kaufhold battled hard for pole position in the recurve under-21 women’s event.

Healey led a late charge but Kaufhold, who was second at the last senior worlds, came in top with 651 points.

“It’s the first time I’ve qualified first at an international event so I’m really proud,” she said. “It was tough conditions today between the wind and rain, but I felt like I made good shots. I trained really hard yesterday in practice to try to figure out where to aim and just have trust.”

“I always come to a tournament ready to play… but it’s my last youth championships and I’ve been short every time. It’s really my time to do well and I’m really looking forward to finals.”

Healey, who secured second seed with 647, said she just wanted to maintain her performance. 

“I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself,” she stated, calmly.

Parth Salunkhe (India), Shamai Yamrom (Israel) and Hazal Burun (Türkiye) secured the other top seeds in the under-21 events, while Baptiste Addis (France), Yun Soohee (Korea), Franco de Wet (South Africa) and Regina Bernal (Mexico) qualified first in the under-18 competitions.

Baptiste Addis was the most convincing shorter-distance shooter over the 72-arrow recurve qualifying. Despite the fact that Addis has flirted with the French senior team in 2023, he’s competing over the under-18 distance of 60 metres this week in Limerick.

Addis’ 672 was 15 points more than second qualifier Ji Yechan of Korea.

“I wanted the world record,” he joked. “But the weather wasn’t quite there.”

The record is 704. Conditions were nowhere near.

On the other side of the field (the left), the compound under-18 women’s qualifying round became suddenly exciting in the closing moments as, when the wind picked up, the archer with the clear lead shot a five with her last arrow.

“It was so tough,” said Mexico’s Regina Bernal, who still managed to secure pole, albeit on 10-count tiebreak after ultimately tying with India’s Aishwarya Sharma on points with 681. “I just tried to shoot fast.”

Both compound men’s age groups show promise in Limerick. Israel’s Shamai Yamrom leading the under-21 category with 705 screams soon-to-be-fulfilled promise, while two South African youngsters (Franco de Wet and Hendre Verhoef) paced the under-18 field. It’s an under-represented country on the world stage.

Competition continues on Wednesday in Limerick with mixed team eliminations and finals.

Top seeds: Limerick 2023

Full qualification results are available on the event page.

  • Recurve men (under-21): Parth Salunkhe, India – 672 points
  • Recurve women (under-21): Casey Kaufhold, USA – 651 points
  • Compound men (under-21): Shamai Yamrom, Israel – 705 points
  • Compound women (under-21): Hazal Burun, Türkiye – 693 points
  • Recurve men (under-18): Baptiste Addis, France – 672 points
  • Recurve women (under-18): Yun Soohee, Korea – 656 points
  • Compound men (under-18): Franco de Wet, South Africa – 693 points
  • Compound women (under-18): Regina Bernal, Mexico – 681 points