Marie Horackova wins Czech Republic’s first-ever world title

Marie Horackova

Outsider Marie Horackova sealed a stunning world title as she stormed to a 6-0 victory over Alejandra Valencia in the recurve women’s individual final of the 2023 Hyundai World Archery Championships in Berlin.

The 25-year-old made World Archery Championships history by claiming Czech Republic’s first-ever world title, winning all of her finals day matches in straight sets.

“It was amazing, it was actually harder out in the qualification field,” the newly-crowned said. “Here I just wanted to be happy shooting 10s and make everything good for myself, and it turned into gold.”

The Czech archer competed in front of her family in Berlin, her father standing behind her as a coach for the entire tournament. Her sister, who arrived at the last moment the day before with her boyfriend, was in tears.

Horackova played a part in one of the shocks of the championships by knocking out Lim Sihyeon in the quarterfinal, one of three Koreans including Olympic champion An San and Kang Chae Young who failed to secure their country an Olympic quota spot.

It is the first time there has not been a Korean woman on the individual recurve podium since Turin 2011, with Korea relinquishing both its individual and team titles from two years ago.

This also means the leading nation leaves Berlin without an Olympic quota place, after defeat to Indonesia in the last-16 of the women’s team event on Wednesday.

Satsuki Noda

The new World Archery Champion secured her country Olympic qualification for just the third time, alongside Japan’s bronze medallist Noda Satsuki and fourth-placed Casey Kaufhold of the USA.

“My goal was to end up in semis because of the quota place, I wanted to bring it home,” Horackova said. “Before this championship it was the European Games, and I lost there just before the semis so it left me feeling like I can do it.”

Valencia had already earned a place at Paris 2024 after she took bronze in the team event. The silver medal is her first senior individual medal on the world stage and Mexico’s first individual women’s medal.

“Truthfully I feel very well and happy,” she said. “I didn’t know that this was something that had never been done before and so that makes me even happier.”

Bronze medallist Noda edged Kang in a tense quarterfinal shoot-off before she lost out to Horackova in the semifinal. Her third-place head-to-head with Kaufhold was comfortable as she capitalised on the errors of the American.

“I felt very confident, there is no other reason,” the Japanese said. “I wasn’t expecting to stand here but I have a strong mind and so that’s why I got this medal.”

2021 World Archery Championships silver medallist Kaufhold was frustrated with fourth place but took consolation in securing an Olympic quota place for her country.

“I am happy I got the quota spot, that was the biggest thing we were going for,” the 19-year-old said. “To have that is satisfying but to not have a medal is definitely disappointing but it makes me hungrier for next time.”

Competition concludes with recurve men’s individual finals on Sunday afternoon in Berlin.