Kim Woojin begins World Archery Championship defence with qualification top spot

Kim Woojin

Kim Woojin made a perfect start to the defence of his Hyundai World Archery Championship title by qualifying top in the recurve men’s competition got underway in a blustery Berlin.

The Korean is seeking his fourth individual world title in the German capital and navigated challenging conditions to score 688 out of a possible 720, including two perfect ends.

“It’s just qualifications so I’m glad I was able to get a good start,”  said Kim. “I was able to shoot as well as I had prepared, to adjust quickly to the conditions in the venue. I aimed based off of the wind.”

He was one of three Koreans in the top six, with Lee Woo Seok (682) and Kim Je Deok (678) also starting promisingly.

“The actual competition hasn’t started yet,” Woojin added. “As happy as I am with qualifications, it’s more about the process than the results. In the end, the outcome will take care of itself.”

Joining Kim in the top three were India’s Dhiraj Bommadevara (683) and Brazil’s Marcus D’Almeida (682).

A second-placed finish was a particularly strong showing for Bommadevara, as the 21-year-old shot a season’s best score, just two shy of his career best total.

“I am so happy, first of all,” said Bommadevara, who claimed individual bronze in the Hyundai Archery World Cup opener in Antalya earlier this year.

“The conditions were so tough, in the first half it was so windy and for me it is so cold.”

“It started to rain and I am happy I managed to shot how I did. I only focused on the process. I am happy but not satisfied.”

(L-R) Dhiraj Bommadevara, Kim Woojin, Marcus D'Almeida

Bommadevara was not the only archer to be tested by the elements, with wind picking up throughout the first session and leading to a congested leaderboard.

A torrential downpour followed in the second half, with higher ranked archers showing their class in rising to the top.

World number one D’Almeida was one of those.

“I shot really well on a difficult day,” the Brazilian archer said. “It was raining, windy with a little bit of sun all in the same morning, so I am happy.”

“I am confident with my level, but I know I can shoot better than this. I was good but I want to be rising and be even better. Hopefully tomorrow it is not raining and I can shoot a bit better.”

Steve Wijler qualified in fifth, one of three Dutch archers to finish inside the top 40 – joined by Senna Roos and Gijs Broeksma.

“The team did really well,” he said. “We trained a lot together for these competitions so we are really happy to be second seeds at the world championships.”

“It was challenging. Looking back at the different years I have shot at World Cups here, we have had pretty good weather. The last three years I have been training on an open field like this so for me it felt kind of at home.”

Dhiraj Bommadevara

For USA, Brady Ellison once more flew the flag with a seventh-placed finish thanks to a score of 672, while youngest member of the team Jackson Mirich finished 25th on his World Archery Championship debut.

“It is great experience, this is my first world championships so I am just excited to be here,” said the 21-year-old. “I love this place. It is so much better than Arizona where it is dry, hot and sunny all the time.”

“We really want those Olympic spots here, so I put pressure on myself to keep doing what I was doing,” added Mirich.

Also setting his sights on Paris is Türkiye’s Mete Gazoz, who is looking to make history next summer having triumphed at Tokyo 2020.

“My whole focus for the next year is on the Olympic Games. I want to become a two-time Olympic gold medallist. No one has done that in archery and I want to be the first archer to do it.”

He qualified in 10th on day one in Berlin.

“I hope I peak my performance. In the second round my confidence was really high,” the reigning Olympic Champion said. “Tomorrow we have team matches for the 2024 Olympic Games quota places, and my team is ready.”

The biggest name to miss out on qualification was Miguel Alvarino Garcia. The Spaniard arrived in Berlin ranked fourth in the world but shot 619, with his scorecard including a 1, two 4s and a 5 as he struggled in the conditions and finished 127th.

However, there were better fortunes for Vietnam’s Duy Nguyen, who defied his world ranking of 524 to qualify 18th with a score of 662.

Competition in Berlin continues with team eliminations on Wednesday.

Top seeds: Recurve men

  1. Kim Woojin, Korea – 688
  2. Dhiraj Bommadevara, India – 683
  3. Marcus D'Almeida, Brazil – 682 44 10s 18 Xs
  4. Lee Woo Seok, Korea – 682 18 10s 6 Xs
  5. Steve Wijler, Netherlands – 678 37 10s 11 Xs
  6. Kim Je Deok, Korea – 678 34 10s 14 Xs
  7. Brady Ellison, USA – 672
  8. Qi Xiangshuo, China – 669