Kazakhstan’s men grab Olympic team spot for Paris 2024
The Kazakhstan recurve men’s team of Ilfat Abdullin, Alexandr Yeremenko and Dauletkeldi Zhangbyrbay made history today at the Bangkok 2023 Asian Archery Championships by becoming the first national recurve side to take an Olympic team spot at a continental championships, after the qualifying procedure was updated in 2022.
The team beat Japan, India and Chinese Taipei on their way to setting up a final with Korea on Thursday. Just a single team spot of three places was available for men, and the spot usually goes to the winners. However, as Korea already have three men’s places confirmed, Kazakhstan will win the spots as runners up.
“The happiness, joy and emotion I can’t even describe.” said Yeremenko. “An incredible thrill. We were very anxious, but we wanted to pick up the win.”
“I think the most important thing is believing in yourself.” added an ebullient Abdullin, the most senior of the three and an Olympian. "We didn’t think about them, we only thought about ourselves. It was through our character and belief that we achieved the goal. And it was a team effort.”
“I believe in myself and I believe in our team. We will definitely win a medal with the whole team in Paris.”
It’s not a surprise to see Kazakhstan shooting at the Olympics. Archers have represented the nation at every Games since 1996, shortly after the country gained independence.
They also had a full men’s team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, qualifying via a second round win at the expense of the USA at the World Championships in Den Bosch back in 2019.
Kazakhstan recurve teams have also won three medals at the Asian Games over the years, and have taken many medals at these championships too. However, this year it’s clear they have emerged as a bigger challenger; they are appearing in three gold matches and one bronze medal match on Thursday, and whatever happens, it will be a record championship medal haul for the Central Asian nation.
The Olympic places came at the expense of Chinese Taipei, who have not had a spectacular competition and are one of the few major archery nations who currently do not have a full team booked for Paris next year. Tang Chih-Chun, part of the Taipei silver medal winning men’s team in Tokyo, may have an opportunity to regain some national pride in the individual gold medal match on Thursday against Kim Woojin.
Elsewhere in the competition, Korea stamped their authority across the individual and team recurve eliminations, putting at least one white shirt in every single final on Thursday. In a sign of just how much Indian women are dominating compound at this moment, the compound women’s individual final will be an all-Indian affair between Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Parneet Kaur, while the women’s team and mixed team will appear in both gold finals tomorrow.
The Korean recurve women’s team will also be under immense pressure to get the job done against China in the gold final; another match that will decide three Olympic places.
Tomorrow’s denoument will again be mostly about the big powerhouse nations – but there may be a surprise or two yet.