Jyothi tops 700, tops qualifying at Asian Games in Hangzhou

Jyothi after topping qualifying at the Asian Games.

India’s talented compounds, led by Jyothi Surekha Vennam, ensured there’d be no Korean sweep of qualifying on the first day of competition at the 2022 Asian Games (taking place in 2023) in Hangzhou, China.

The 27-year-old was the only compound woman to score more than 700 points for the 72-arrow round, scoring 704.

“The conditions today were a bit tricky because the wind was changing continuously but I had a good time shooting and I just focused on my process,” she said.

Vennam’s world champion compound women’s team also qualified first, as did she and individual World Archery Champion Pravin Deotale in the mixed pairs event.

“The team this year is very strong. The results have been great and right now we are just focused on giving our best in this tournament,” Jyothi added.

India has never had a winner in the archery competitions at the Asian Games.

“Everyone comes for the golds,” said Vennam. “Me too!”

Korea secured the remaining seven pole positions, including all five recurve top seeds, with the nation’s three individual highest scores coming courtesy Joo Jaehoon (712), Lee Woo Seok (690) and Lim Sihyeon (678).

Joo Jaehoon and Lee Woo Seok’s scores, top in the compound and recurve men’s competitions, were both event records.

“I didn’t achieve the results I hoped for at the last Asian Games so this time I’ve been preparing methodically,” said Woo Seok, who recently finished runner-up to Marcus D’Almeida at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Hermosillo.

“The wind was quite strong today… but after finding my rhythm, I felt more content.”

Although four archers per nation may compete in each competition category at the Asian Games, only the top two advance to the second phase of the individual competition and enter the matchplay bracket.

With Lee Woo Seok first in the recurve men’s event for Korea and the ageless Oh Jin Hyek seeding third, two-time and defending champion Kim Woojin is already out of the competition. (Oh also previously won these Games in 2014.)

Hai Ligan appears best placed to produce a result for the home team at this early stage.

The Chinese 22-year-old seeded after the recurve women’s qualifying round with 676, sandwiched between Lim (678) and triple Olympic gold medallist An San (672), the two archers who will advance Korea’s interests in a tournament at which they are faced with considerable pressue.

The Korean women did not qualify a single Olympic quota at the world championships and need either a win in the mixed team event or either Lim or An to finish in the top two individually to secure their first spot.

Competition continues with early eliminations on Monday in Hangzhou.

Top seeds: Asian Games