Asian Champs: finals day brings Olympics dream closer
Finals day at the Bangkok 2023 Asian Archery Championships competition wrapped up another edition of the biannual continental competition – and mercifully, the weather didn't halt proceedings.
The biggest match of the day, prize wise, was the recurve women’s team final, awarding three precious Olympic spots. China’s women have been improving massively over the past year, but they couldn't push past Korea, who won 6-2.
China’s shooting was consistent, but as so often, much more was required against a Korean trio who have found form after a few scares this year. The look of exhausted relief on Lim Sihyeon’s face after she just edged in a final 10 summed up the situation: an almost desperate need to get the job done. China’s talented women will have to wait for another chance to get back on the road to Paris.
Korea’s win has further impacts along the chain of previous results. As they had previously qualified a single woman's place with the recurve mixed team result at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, this place is ‘returned’ to the available pool of places. In second place in Hangzhou was Japan, who already have both men and women qualified. In third place was Indonesia, who now gain a men’s and women’s place for Paris 2024.
Similarly, because of results here, Chinese Taipei gain a reallocated individual women’s place for Paris, also based on results at the Asian Games.
Elsewhere on the recurve field, the Korean machine held firm, winning the men’s and women’s individual, men’s and women’s team, and mixed team titles. The one small crack in the armour was China’s Li Jiaman (pictured above), who featured in two of those finals on the losing side but managed to wrestle the individual bronze medal off Kang Chae Young.
The individual women’s title went to Choi Misun, who debuted on the national team the same year as Kang in 2015, and overcame her much younger teammate Lim in a nerveless, relaxed shootoff. Just perhaps, experience showed.
However, the compound action at this competition had definitely not gone all Korea’s way. The Korean men’s team did manage to edge out Kazakhstan by two points in their final, and a pair of archers from that match came back on for the individual final. But then the 17-year-old Andrey Tyutyun (below) held his nerve to defeat the much more experienced Kim Jongho for the individual title, 146-144, in what might have been the match of the day.
Kazakhstan would finish the competition with a gold, two silvers, third place on the medal table and three Olympic places – quite the week’s work.
India’s women put on quite the show, too. The compound women’s title went to Parneet Kaur who edged out Jyothi Surekha Vennam in a tight shootoff. Both women, along with multiple world champion Aditi Gopichand Swami had earlier pushed out Chinese Taipei for the women’s team title. Swami, along with Priyansh, also took the mixed team title, thrashing Thailand by five points, 156-151.
It sometimes feels that the Asian Championships are overshadowed by the Asian Games, and this is especially pronounced in a year when – uniquely – the two competitions coincided. But the added drama of awarding Olympic spots added huge drama to the recurve competition, and the compound side apparently had enough drama of its own.